Nursing Home Scald Injury due to Medical Negligence Results in £5,000 Fine

Flintshire Magistrates have fined a company £5,000 for a nursing home scalding injury which resulted in the death of a resident.

Beatrice Morgan – a resident of the Greencroft Nursing Home in Queensferry, Flintshire – suffered a nursing home scald injury on 29th August 2012, as she was being lowered by a hoist into a bath. Eighty-eight year old Beatrice cried out in pain as she touched the water and, although nursing staff acted promptly to raise her from the bath, she was taken to the Burns Unit at Whiston Hospital with 9 percent burns on her lower legs, trunk and left arm.

Beatrice developed pneumonia and a blood clot in her lungs following her nursing home scald injury, and died of complications the following month. The Health Service Executive (HSE) initiated an investigation into the incident and found that the temperature of hot water in the nursing home was not properly controlled to prevent it exceeding the maximum safe level of 44º Celsius. They also found that no risk assessment had been carried out and there had been a lack of staff training.

As a result of the HSE investigation, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (SCCIW) carried out its own enquiry. The SCCIW enquiry raised serious concerns about the safety of the nursing home’s residents and applied to the court for the immediate closure of the nursing home. The company who owned the nursing home – Greencroft Care Ltd – has now gone into liquidation.

The HSE prosecuted Greencroft Care Ltd for the failures of health and safety which led to the nursing home scald injury and at the Flintshire Magistrates Court the company was found guilty in its absence. At the hearing, District Judge Gwyn Jones fined Greencroft Care Ltd. £5,000 but acknowledged that the fine was likely not be paid as the company was no longer trading and had no assets. He added that, had the company still existed, he would have referred the case to the Crown Court.