A severely disabled boy was badly burned after his nurses – wearing protective clothes due to the COVID-19 pandemic – put him into a scalding hot bath without properly checking the water temperature.
The 14-year-old boy, who can’t be named due to his age, was left in agony with third-degree burns covering 20 per cent of his body and his disability meant he could not receive normal pain relief or skin grafts.
His two nurses, Claire Brookes and Michelle Spencer, who had gone to the boy’s home to help his family care for him, were spared jail on Friday but their careers are over, a judge said.
They were both given 12-month conditional discharges, which means they will not be punished for the offence if they stay out of trouble for the next year.
Sentencing at Leicester Crown Court, Recorder David Allan said: “You have done more over the last two decades to help vulnerable people than perhaps anyone else in this room. The events were catastrophic for [the boy] but also catastrophic for you.
“It would be inexpedient of me to inflict further punishment.”
Both women had no previous convictions and were of “exceptionally good character” due to their decades of care for vulnerable people, reports Leicestershire Live.
The father of the boy told the court the pain has been “immense” for the family since the December 2020 horror.
“It was terrifying to watch as a family,” the dad, from Leicestershire, said.
“He was happy and engaging but since this he is miserable and withdrawn – we fear the change in his personality will stay with him.
“The pain he suffered was immense yet he could not communicate this to us.
“How can we trust anyone to care for our son again?”
The court heard the nurses, working for a private healthcare company, were wearing long-sleeved PPE gowns and two pairs of gloves – in line with regulations at the time due to the pandemic – but didn’t test the water temperature properly.
The lawyer for Spencer, 36, and from Shepshed, Leicestershire, said the experience was “earth-shattering” for the nurse.
Ronan McCann, defending her, said: “This was never an intentional assault. This is someone who is highly unlikely to come before these courts again.”
Stefan Kolodynski, repesenting 36-year-old Brookes, of Ibstock, Leicestershire, said: “Mrs Brookes was extremely distressed on the day this happened and remains extremely distressed.
“The consequences were devastating for [the boy] and his family but the consequences were equally devastating for Mrs Brookes.”
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