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Lessons still not being learned on scalding

Margaret Gilchrist, of Glasgow died at her home in her bath on 26 September 2013. A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) has heard that 50-year-old Margaret, who needed full-time care due to blindness, epilepsy and severe learning difficulties, had passed away after being left unattended in the bath by her carer for around an hour. On her carer’s return, Margaret was found unresponsive. She had received 90% burns.

Forensic pathologist Dr Julie McAdam told Glasgow Sheriff Court she could not be sure if scalding was the cause of the death, or if it had happened after. There was the possibility that Margaret was scalded after being rendered unconscious by a seizure. She had sustained burns to 80-90% of her body.

The Inquiry found that Margaret had been previously scalded while in a bath some 15 years before. In that incident it is believed she accidentally kicked the hot tap lever on, allowing enough water into the bath to scald her feet. After that incident, her carer (at that time) would not leave her unattended in the bath for more than 10 minutes.

The Inquiry is ongoing.

Scalding can happen to anyone and is preventable. If you want to find out how you can make your home safe against scalding visit: http://www.ciphe.org.uk/consumer/safe-water-campaign/hot-water-scalds/