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Lincoln County Hospital Trust fined after patient's pipe burns


A hospital trust has been fined £100,000 after a 91-year-old patient suffered burns on a radiator pipe.

The patients, Iris Longmate, was found face down in a room at Lincoln County Hospital and was left pressed up against the hot pipe by staff when she was rolled over.

Boston Magistrates' Court heard she died of other causes 11 days later, but a judge said the burns may have "hindered her recovery.”

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) admitted a breach of the Health and Social Care Act.

The hearing heard Mrs Longmate, from Dunston, Lincolnshire, was admitted to the hospital in February 2019 with gallstones in her bile duct.

The court heard that on 3 March she was left in a room for fewer than 10 minutes and was found face down by staff after fainting while on a commode.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that, during resuscitation, hospital staff placed her against the exposed hot water heating pipes, causing her significant burns.

Iris Longmate suffered spinal injuries and a cut to the head in the fall along with burns to her thigh and left arm from the radiator.

The CQC said she later contracted pneumonia and died on 14 March.

The hearing heard the hospital carried out risk assessments of the building, but this did not include the dangers posed by hot water piping.

District Judge Peter Veits, sentencing, said the burns "may well have caused her pain and discomfort" and "may have hindered her recovery" from her other medical issues.

He said: "The trust has done much work since to improve the situation, but it's troubling that in 2019 a hospital, which should have been a safe haven for those needing treatment, wasn't a safe place."

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) was also told to pay £11,034 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

ULHT chief executive, Andrew Morgan, said: "We would like to extend an unreserved apology to the family of Iris Longmate for the circumstances of her injury three years ago, and the pain and distress that she experienced.

"We have learned lessons from the incident, and would like to provide reassurance that action has been taken to address the risks from exposed radiator pipes at Lincoln Hospital and across the Trust to ensure that the events cannot be repeated.