Care home fined £1m after death of dementia patient who was placed in scalding bath

Family say they have ‘finally got some justice’ for 93-year-old Frances Norris

Furvah Shah
Friday 08 October 2021 21:27
<p>Frances Norris </p>

Frances Norris

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A care home firm has been fined over £1m over the death of a dementia patient who was put in a scalding bath.

Frances Norris, 93, died in February 2015 after developing bronchopneumonia following the incident at the Birdsgrove Nursing Home in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The firm, Aster Healthcare, admitted corporate manslaughter at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday and has been fined £1.04 million.

The home’s manager at the time of Ms Norris’ death, Elisabeth West, was given a nine-month jail term suspended to 18 months and a carer, Noel Maida, 50, was sentenced to 16 weeks suspended for 18 months after both pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.

On Wednesday, the court heard that Ms Norris was in the hot bath for several minutes before staff noticed a problem.

Ms Norris was bathed by Maida and another junior carer, who had not yet received training in bathing patients.

After being hoisted into the bath, Ms Norris reportedly said the water was cold to which Maida instructed the junior carer to add hot water.

In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Oliver Glasgow, Ms Norris was in the bath for around 10 minutes before being taken back to her room by her carers.

Ms Norris was taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, then referred to the specialist burns unit at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where it was found up to 12 per cent of her body was covered in burns.

Ms Norris died in hospital three days later on 8 February 2015.

Aster Healthcare, directed by Sheth Jeebun, had previously denied the charge. The firm have since admitted providing falsified records following Ms Norris’ death, including false water temperature records.

In a statement, Ms Norris’ family said she “will always be someone special to us, a woman who lived through the Second World War, who left school at 14 to support her own mother in caring for her eight brothers and three sisters.”

They described Ms Norris as warm, generous, kindhearted, independent and stoical.

They added: “After 6.5 years we have got finally got some justice for mum although it will never compensate for our loss.”