Sources report that a disabled man received serious burns in an out-of-state group care center when a healthcare worker in a nursing home neglect incident left him unattended in a scalding hot shower.
The 22-year-old quadriplegic patient is blind, has cerebral palsy and cannot speak. He has lived with these disabilities since he was born. His guardian cared for him on her own for nine years before moving him to a care center.
The 67-year-old care center attendant who placed the patient in the shower said that the water was not hot when she left the room. No information is available about how long the patient was left alone. By the time the caregiver returned, the man had suffered serious burns over the lower part of his body. He needed a ventilator to help him breathe, and he required skin grafts to repair his burned body. Doctors initially gave him a 50-50 chance of surviving skin graft surgery, but he made it through the operations and is recovering.
A spokesperson for the center said that measures had been implemented to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future. The incident was apparently caused by the failure of a scald guard on the shower head. The center has acknowledged that even if the scald guard had been properly installed, the man should not have been left alone in the shower.
The attendant who left the man in the shower has been arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault. Some suspect that her conduct crossed the line from accidental behavior into negligence. If convicted, the woman could be sentenced to one year in jail.
Fox 42 News: “Disabled Man Burned at Care Center,” Clark Young, Dec. 13, 2011