Woman badly burned by carer’s bath blunder

Care worker Sharon Dunlop. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Care worker Sharon Dunlop. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A WOMAN with learning 
disabilities suffered horrific burns when she stepped into a bath full of scalding water, a court heard.

The 31-year-old was left with “severe injuries” as a result of the incident, which took place at a care home on August 13, 2013.

The woman – who was supposed to be looked after around-the-clock at the Real Life Options centre, in 
Bathgate – was able to climb into the full bath just after 8am that morning.

It was only when she screamed in agony that her carers realised the water was red-hot.

They called 999 for help and the woman was rushed by ambulance to St John’s Hospital, Livingston, where she underwent emergency treatment to severe burns on her feet, legs and 
body.

The care worker responsible for the woman’s welfare yesterday admitted breaching health and safety laws when she appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court.

Sharon Dunlop, of 
Drummond Place, Blackridge, pleaded guilty on indictment to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of people affected by her acts or omissions at 
work.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told that she placed or assisted the woman into a bath containing “water of a temperature sufficient to cause scalding”.

Dunlop, 40, was charged under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for not carrying out her duties properly while at work as a carer at the home in Gideon Street, Bathgate.

Sheriff Peter Hammond called for background reports from criminal justice social workers.

Dunlop will be sentenced at a later date.

The Gideon Street home provides long-stay accommodation for residents with learning difficulties and specialises in dealing with people who suffer from autism, hearing and speech impairment as well as those with learning difficulties.

Following the last formal visit by Scotland’s Care Inspectorate on March 11, 2014, the home was rated “good” for quality of care and support, quality of environment, and quality of management and leadership, but only “adequate” for quality of staffing.

No-one at Real Life Options was able to comment on the matter.

newsen@edinburghnews.com