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HealthMost Popular80-Year-Old Burned After Cigarette Tip Fell And Ignited Her Clothing – Amid Claims Negligent Carers Are To Blame

80-Year-Old Burned After Cigarette Tip Fell And Ignited Her Clothing – Amid Claims Negligent Carers Are To Blame

A family have slammed a care home after an 80-year-old suffered horrific burns when the tip of her cigarette dropped off and ignited her clothing.

Frail Kathleen Bickersteth moved to a care home on July 17 after being discharged from hospital where she was being treated for a fractured pelvis and coccyx.

Three days later, while confined to a wheelchair, loved ones say the great-grandma asked a carer to take her outside so she could have a smoke.

But they claim after wheeling her out the man then left her alone before wind blew the scolding tip from the end of her cigarette and onto her coat causing it to ignite.

A passerby outside the care home in Leeds, West Yorks., noticed the flames and jumped over the gate before tearing Kathleen’s coat off and throwing it to the ground.

Staff at Harrogate Lodge Care Home only found out what had happened when the man ran inside to tell them an elderly woman had been hurt.

Kathleen, a grandma of 19, suffered first, second and third degree burns on her face, neck, body and back which will take up to three years to heal, according to doctors.

She won’t be discharged from hospital for at least another week.

Her distraught granddaughter, Natasha O’Reilly, 45, has slammed staff at the home for leaving her “vulnerable” grandma on her own.

The business consultant from Leeds said Kathleen has a number of conditions, including tremors in her hands, that mean she needs 24 hour supervision.

She said: “My nanna should never have been left outside alone.

“Her medical conditions, which are all documented, means she needs to be supervised all the time.

“There is no doubt in my mind there should have been somewhere there with her.

“I think she was neglected by the staff at Harrogate Lodge.”

Natasha added: “To see my nanna in hospital in that state was devastating.

“She grabbed my hand so tight and just burst into tears, she was so upset.

“It’s bad enough for anyone to suffer from burns like this but at her age it is tragic.

“It’s the last thing she needs in her life.”

Natasha said her grandma has suffered from poor health since her husband of 56 years Rowland died six years ago.

A few weeks ago the retired Leeds United Football Club worker suffered a fall at home and had to spend two weeks in hospital as a result.

Three days before she was burned the pensioner was discharged to Harrogate Lodge for six weeks rehabilitation before going home.

Natasha says she is speaking out about what happened in a bid to improve the standard of care at residential homes.

Harrogate Lodge Care Home is operated by health and social care provider Four Seasons Healthcare, which is investigating the incident.

A spokesman said: “We are very concerned about this accident and have conducted an internal investigation as well as reporting it to the relevant authorities.

“The staff at the home followed the correct procedures to ensure the resident received immediate medical attention and we are providing our full support in her recovery.

“Staff periodically check on residents who are in the garden and we provide one-on-one supervision where specified in care plans.

“We assist residents to live independently for as long as possible and provide supervision where it is agreed as part of their care plan, which is regularly reviewed in consultation with the resident themselves as well as social workers and family members where appropriate.”

The incident at Harrogate Lodge on July 20 has been reported to the Care Quality Commission, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed their investigation into the incident at Harrogate Lodge has concluded.

A spokesman said: “The investigation has concluded and no further action is to be taken.”

The Care Quality Commission and Leeds City Council have been approached for comment.

Leeds City Council have confirmed a safeguarding enquiry has been launched following the incident at Harrogate Lodge Care Home. 

A spokesman said: “A request was made to Leeds City’s Council Adult Social Care team.

“A safeguarding enquiry has now been instigated into this issue.”

Natasha is crowdfunding through website GoFundMe to raise money for Kathleen’s aftercare.

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