Care home firm admits corporate manslaughter over death of dementia patient in scalding bath

A healthcare firm has pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter after the death of a dementia patient who had been put into a bath of scalding water, a court heard.

Frances Norris, 93, died after she had been sat in a bath of boiling water on February 5 2015 at Birdsgrove Nursing Home (pictured) in Bracknell, Berkshire, by two carers including Noel Maida, 48.

A sentencing hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday heard that Maida had been bathing Ms Norris with another carer, who had not yet been trained in bathing patients, on the Berkshire wing at the home.

After hoisting Ms Norris into the bath and hearing her say the water was “cold”, Maida instructed the junior carer to add more hot water.

In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Oliver Glasgow, the woman said Ms Norris was in the water “for around 10 minutes” before she put her own hand into the water and realised it was “hotter than she would have liked”.

She said the two carers then took Ms Norris back to her room at the home, owned by Aster Healthcare, and called for a nurse after noticing her feet had turned red.

After being seen by two nurses, Ms Norris was taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey and then referred to the specialist burns unit at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where she died on February 8 2015.

Ms Norris’s daughter, Angela Hudson, told of the distress caused by the actions of Maida, Elizabeth West, 46, who was care home manager at the time of Ms Norris’ death, and Aster Healthcare.

Maida and West both pleaded guilty on Wednesday to failing to discharge a duty and Aster Healthcare pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter.

Ms Hudson told the court: “I was upset to think about the pain she had experienced. All I wanted was someone to admit they had made a mistake. Six-and-a-half-years later we are still waiting for justice to be served.

“At times, it felt like we were never going to get a trial and it was all going to be forgotten.”

Mitigating, Jamas Hodivala QC told the court that Aster Healthcare accepts senior management at Birdsgrove failed in its duties to Ms Norris before her death. He said: “She shouldn’t have died as a result of having a bath.

“Senior management failed to deliver care to her. Aster Healthcare wishes to apologise for its serious failings in this case and accepts it should have done far more.”

The sentencing continues on today (Thursday).

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Google Maps.