Worker suspended over scalded patient

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A HEALTH worker at a hospital in Stoke-on-Trent has been suspended after a mentally handicapped patient jumped into a bath of scalding water and suffered serious burns.

The accident took place on the ward at Stallington hospital where a patient died in May after allegedly being tied to a lavatory pipe.

Three nurses are to appear in court on Friday to face charges in connection with the death of Freda Ann Latham, 42, who died from inhalation of vomit and suspension.

North Staffordshire Health Authority said yesterday that it had launched an internal inquiry into the latest incident, on 29 December. The patient, a 45-year-old woman, is being treated for 15 per cent burns to her feet and buttocks at North Staffordshire Hospital Centre. The female health worker, who was immediately suspended, was alone with the patient and had been running a bath for her.

Claire Howell, executive director of human resources at the health authority, said: 'It would appear the health care support worker ran a bath of hot water and the resident jumped in. This was contrary to normal nursing practices. It is proper practice to run a bath of cold water and warm it up with hot water.'

Valves in the hospital were fitted with a water temperature regulator to prevent scalding water filling the bath but it appeared the regulator had failed.