herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Dad's grief as daughter dies after scalding bath

HORRIFIC: Handicapped girl was burned by hot water

A heartbroken dad whose handicapped daughter died after suffering terrible burns when she was put in a bath by a care assistant has spoken of the harrowing injuries that she received.

Sharon Carney (34) of Glendale Estate in Leixlip suffered burns to her feet and her lower legs on August 16, 2008.

Her father Pat had cared for Sharon with his wife Maureen until she died suddenly of meningitis just four months before their daughter.

Maureen's sudden death meant Pat had to enlist extra care through the HSE, and a care assistant from the Irish Wheelchair Association was engaged in that job at Sharon's Leixlip home.

"Myself and my wife Maureen had cared for Sharon for 34 years," Pat told the Herald.

When Maureen died, an assistant, Maria Yourell, was appointed to help care for Sharon. The incident happened just a few weeks later.

"I had got her ready for her bath and carried her across the landing from her bed to the chair," Pat remembered.

"Then I was downstairs and I could hear Sharon making noises," he added.

"I decided to go up and check, but the girl, Maria, called me and said she was ready to take her out of the bath again," Pat explained.

"I knew as soon as I went in to the bathroom that something terrible had happened. Maria's feet were all blistered and the skin was coming off them.

Sharon was taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital and was later transferred to the burns unit at St James's Hospital. Doctors expected her to recover from the burns, but she also had a swallowing problem related to her disability and doctors were concerned about aspiration pneumonia, which can be caused by inhaling food in the airways.

Sharon became less responsive on August 23 and suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest. A post-mortem exam found she died of respiratory failure due to aspiration pneumonia.

Ms Yourell has since died, leaving Pat with no answers at the inquest this week.

The coroner at the inquest said the burns were not expected to cause death.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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