Family seek justice for Romford pensioner who died after falling in scalding hot bath
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 May 2018
A disabled Romford pensioner died after he was left in a bath with severe burns for six hours when a carer failed to check on him.
Alan Pavitt, 79 from Fraser Close in Romford is thought to have fallen while getting showered one morning, accidentally knocking the hot tap which poured scalding hot water on to his leg.
Unable to get back up, he lay helpless for hours despite a carer’s claims that she visited his flat as scheduled to make him breakfast, but didn’t think he was in.
Alan, who suffered a stroke years before which affected his speech and right side, was finally discovered when the carer returned that afternoon.
His injuries and kidney failure caused by loss of fluid were so severe that he died in Broomfield Hospital nine days later on March 31, 2016.
Alan’s family have now launched civil action against Westminster Homecare, the agency that the Alan’s carer belonged to.
Shelley Pavitt, 43, from Upminster, who was married to Alan’s son, Andy, said she is still haunted by the thought of her former father-in-law alone and in pain.
“That’s the hardest thing. He was on his own for all that time and he couldn’t do anything,” she said.
“The pain must have been unbearable. When we got to the hospital he was in absolute agony.
“There was literally no skin on his leg, it was red raw.
“He had been really sick because of the shock and he had lost so much fluid from the burns that he had gone into kidney failure.”
The carer who had been in the job just six weeks, told police she went back later to check on Mr Pavitt but could not remember the code for the key safe to get into his flat.
She claimed she had Westminster Homecare, to report her concerns from a neighbour’s phone because she had no credit on hers but said there was no answer and so she left, returning for a third time in the afternoon when she eventually found him.
A police investigation concluded that no crime had been committed, but an inquest found that certain circumstances contributed to Alan’s death.
The report states that “a failure to check [Alan’s] whereabouts and wellbeing when a carer attended for the 10am check [...] resulted in a delay in his access to medical treatment”.
Alan was a former soldier who served in Egypt and he worked for years as a postman at the Hornchurch branch where he met his late wife, Christine.
Nicole Brendel, a clinical negligence specialist from law firm Slater and Gordon is representing the family in their civil action against Westminster Homecare.
She said: “Unfortunately we are regularly contacted by people who have been failed by those who are supposed to care for them, but it’s rare that the consequences are as devastating as this.
“Mr Pavitt’s family cannot turn the clock back but by sharing their own painful experience they hope to stop these kind of mistakes happening to anyone else.”
A spokeswoman from Westminster Homecare said: “Westminster Homecare continues to offer our sincere apologies to the family of Mr Pavitt for any distress caused to them due to the incident that occurred in March 2016 that may have contributed to Mr Pavitt’s untimely death.
“Westminster Homecare prides itself in providing trained care workers to deliver excellent social care to all our service users.
“In this instance the care worker involved who was fully trained, failed to follow policies and procedures of the company and as a result caused a delay in Mr Pavitt receiving medical treatment.
“The care worker was dealt with immediately following an investigation and dismissed from our employment.
“Westminster Homecare worked in a transparent manner alongside the local authority safeguarding team and fully co-operated with the Coroner’s inquest. “This was a tragic accident that should not have occurred.
“Our condolences and offer of support remain with Mr Pavitt’s family.”