Mother's anguish after nursery accident

A MOTHER is demanding answers after her 17-month-old toddler was sent away from a hospital with horrific burn injuries which she sustained while at nursery.

Anthony Bond

A MOTHER is demanding answers after her 17-month-old toddler was sent away from a hospital with horrific burn injuries which she sustained while at nursery.

Casey White was at Angels Daycare in Needham Market on Friday morning when she followed a nursery nurse into a kitchen area and poured boiling hot water over herself.

Her frantic mother Claire White, 24, from Stowmarket, rushed her baby daughter to Ipswich Hospital, where she was seen by a doctor in accident and emergency (A&E) and a decision was taken not to admit her to a ward. She was bandaged up and sent home with paracetamol-based medicine Calpol and pain reliever Nurofen.


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But after returning to the hospital the following day and still in agonising pain, she was later taken by ambulance to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

She has since had a skin graft on her shoulder, is being fed through a tube and could be scarred for life.

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Her distraught mother is considering taking legal action against Angels Daycare and may file a complaint with Ipswich Hospital.

“I am just wondering what happened in those two days and if anybody is competent enough to do their job anymore”, she said.

“I am just angry. I know that accidents happen but this should not have happened. It is our little girl and this could scar her for life.”

Sue Button, owner of Angels Daycare, admitted that staff were traumatised by the experience and said a nursery nurse had been disciplined.

“We deeply care for our children and we honestly did believe that we had thought of everything that may happen. However, on this occasion we have failed and this dreadful accident has occurred.”

Mrs White said she received a phone call from the nursery just after 9am on Friday.

A nursery nurse was cooling cups of boiled water for babies. When she had finished she shut the safety gate and left the kitchen area. But, when she went back into the kitchen, Casey followed behind her and pulled one of the cups on to herself.

She was burnt on her neck and down her body.

Screaming in pain, Casey was rushed to Ipswich Hospital where she was seen by an A&E doctor, who felt she could be managed as an outpatient with dressings. She was sent home with Calpol and Nurofen.

The following day she was taken back to the hospital for an assessment of her burns. But after being admitted on to a ward at the hospital, she was later transferred by ambulance to the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital near Chelmsford.

She went into theatre on Saturday night and has had a skin graft on her shoulder. She may yet need one on her face and is being fed through a tube.

Her mother has been left devastated.

“It is horrible. I cannot sleep or eat and I would do anything to take the burn marks away from her. They are lovely people at the nursery and if they could change this they would, but the fact remains that I put them in charge of my daughter and she has got badly hurt.

“She is being fed by a tube and will not eat or drink. She has got tubes everywhere and is feeling very sorry for herself. We do not yet know how the burns are going to heal. I think doctors do not want to commit to her having a skin graft on her face yet, we want to see if it will heal on its own.”

Mrs White said she was considering taking legal action against the nursery and filing a complaint with Ipswich Hospital.

“I am thinking of putting a complaint in with Ipswich Hospital because they sent us home with just Calpol and Nurofen.”

Regarding the nursery, she added: “I know they are not bad people but if my daughter is going to be scarred for life then she deserves something. Children are cruel and if she has to live with a scar on her face for the rest of her life then she should be compensated.”

Ofsted was informed of the incident yesterday. It has a number of legal powers available but said it was too soon to say whether any action would be taken against the nursery.

A spokesman said: “The nursery has informed us that they have now changed their procedures to prevent any danger of a repetition and our inspectors will be making an urgent visit to the premises on Tuesday.

“An urgent strategy meeting has been called by the local authority to review the wider issues involved in the incident. Ofsted will co-operate with agencies such as social services and the police as they conduct their own investigations and, as a part of the process, Ofsted will decide whether it needs to take any other action in relation to the registration of the nursery.”

Mid Suffolk District Council's environmental health officers are also investigating the incident. A spokesman for the council said: “We can confirm that we are investigating the accident that took place on Friday and officers visited the site today.”

IPSWICH HOSPITAL'S STATEMENT

IPSWICH Hospital last nightissued a statement in response to Mrs White's concerns.

It read: “This is a superficial scalding burn to the face and trunk with an area on partial thickness over the shoulder.

“Casey was seen by a very experienced A&E doctor, and she was immediately given strong painkillers. The burns were properly assessed and it was felt that they could be managed as an outpatient with dressings. We safely and successfully manage many children with similar burns in this way each year. The next day review was organised to assess the burns again. It is at this stage that we sometimes consider that an area of burn requires specialist attention. It is extremely unusual to have to refer a hot water scald for specialist assessment and surgery. We are obviously very sorry for any extra distress that Casey and her family suffered as a result of her transfer and wish her a speedy recovery from her operation.”

ACCIDENT WAS 'HUMAN ERROR' - NURSERY

THE owner of Angels Daycare - which opened about 12 months ago - said it was a case of “human error” and staff were traumatised following the accident.

Sue Button said: “This is an incredibly traumatic experience for all involved and all our love goes out to the child and family.

“We set up the nursery for many different reasons and one of them was to ensure the safest environment possible.

“We have tried to anticipate every possible scenario for accidents occurring and put in policies and procedures to ensure this does not happen.

“But on this occasion it was a case of 'human error' and how ever hard we try to protect children, whether it be at home or nursery, it would be naive of me to say that we could protect them from every possible thing that can go wrong.”

She added: “We deeply care for our children and we honestly did believe that we had thought of everything that may happen. However on this occasion we have failed and this dreadful accident has occurred. I cannot begin to express the sorrow that the nursery has gone through over this, and everything has been done to ensure that, where humanly possible, nothing like this will ever happen again.”

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