Woman wins pay-out over bath scalding

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A disabled woman suffered appalling burns when care workers lowering her into a scalding bath mistook her distress for an epileptic fit, the High Court heard yesterday.

Jeanette De Bono was burnt on 40 per cent of her body surface, with 10 per cent of the injuries being severe, and needed intravenous pain relief after the accident at Eight Ash Court nursing home, Colchester, Essex, in 2002.

Miss De Bono, now 28, has Rett’s Syndrome and has been in residential care for most of her life since the condition, which causes the regression of sufferers who appear normal at birth, was diagnosed when she was four.

At a hearing to approve an agreed award of substantial undisclosed damages, Robert Glancy QC said that, before the accident, Miss De Bono had a severe learning disability, no verbal communication, mobility problems, breathing disturbances, scoliosis and epilepsy.

But her condition was well-controlled with medication and she could walk several hundred yards and lead an active and enjoyable life with trips to restaurants, pubs and cinemas.

After a lengthy recovery in hospital, with two periods of respiratory failure, Miss De Bono had made a reasonable recovery but lost what little mobility she had.