Family of gran scalded to death in Edinburgh hotel compensated

Kalyani Uthaman is said to have died of multiple organ failure after being scalded. Picture: Contributed.
Kalyani Uthaman is said to have died of multiple organ failure after being scalded. Picture: Contributed.

THE family of a tourist who died after being burned in an Edinburgh hotel shower has received an apology and compensation from the owners.

Kalyani Uthaman, 59, from India, was scalded at the Premier Inn at Newcraighall in August 2012. She reportedly suffered 25 per cent burns to her body and died of multiple organ failure six weeks after the incident.

Mrs Uthaman had gone for a shower on 4 August 2012, but just minutes later her daughter-in-law found her slumped and scalded. Her family lodged legal action to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s highest civil court, against Whitbread plc, the hotel chain’s operators.

Kalyani’s family demanded a six-figure sum to meet hospital fees. Premier Inn’s owners state that it was “an isolated incident”.

Their lawyer argued that the hotel had failed in its duty of care by not having fitted a thermostatic mixing valve to regulate water temperature.

Mrs Uthaman’s son said she had been in intensive care for nearly two months before succumbing to multiple organ failure.

Speaking from Bangalore, Sundar Uthaman, 44, said: “I feel vindicated in the sense that a settlement is an acknowledgement by Whitbread that they did wrong.

“I’m still angry at what they did and the fact it wasn’t until Thompsons Solicitors raised the court proceedings that they issued an apology.

“I would also bring to attention that nobody spoke to me and my family regarding what happened.

“So I really feel disappointed. The settlement has prevented the evidence being heard in court.

“I would really like this to be discussed in the court to make sure such a tragedy never happens to anyone else.”

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The family of Kalyani Uthaman were informed, in January 2014, of the decision not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“The incident was fully investigated by police, the council and health and safety experts and while this is a tragic case, independent Crown Counsel agree that there would be no focus for a discretionary FAI and no recommendations for a sheriff to make.

“To hold such an inquiry would not be in the public interest.”

A spokesman for Premier Inn said: “We are very sorry for the tragic accident that occurred to Ms Uthaman in 2012 and our thoughts are with her family.

“We take millions of bookings every year and we would like to reassure our guests that this was an isolated incident.

“We constantly monitor and regulate the water temperature of our showers in line with industry best practice, which is based on Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulatory guidance and NHS health care guidelines.”