A WIGAN man who suffered a condition which meant he could not feel pain died after sitting in a scalding hot bath while on holiday.
An inquest heard how Geoffrey McGrath, who had learning difficulties, suffered a series of complications following the incident in Tenerife last April.
Delivering a narrative verdict, area coroner Alan Walsh told how the 60-year-old’s death came “as a consequence of injuries sustained from an accident on the background of a naturally occurring disease.”
The court heard how Mr McGrath was on holiday on the Spanish island with his carers from Imagine Act and Succeed when he got into a scalding bath without them knowing.
However, the coroner refused to attribute any hint of neglect, instead he praised them for the care he received.
The court heard how Mr McGrath had learning difficulties from a very young age and had an unpleasant period of his life when he lived in hospitals that caused distress to his family when they visited him.
Around 20 years ago he left those institutions and started to live at Overbeck Close in Beech Hill and was cared for by the charity Imagine Act and Succeed.
Mr McGrath’s only surviving relative, Ken Darlington, told the court how he “doesn’t have words to describe how his life had changed.
“He was reborn and the carers treated him brilliantly.
“He was taken to the rugby, to shows and places like Blackpool like a normal person. It was absolutely brilliant. I wish he could have had the previous 20 years of his life at Overbeck.”
The Bolton inquest heard how Mr McGrath was taken on holiday to the Parque Cristobal resort in Tenerife in 2012 and such was the enjoyment of that trip that, as part of his 60th birthday celebrations, it was planned for him to be taken again last year.
He travelled with carers Jacqueline Meredith and Debra Carson.
They arrived at the resort on April 15 last year but, unlike in 2012, the hotel had placed them on an upper floor so Miss Meredith and Mrs Carson asked to be relocated to the ground floor, which was arranged.
In 2012, Miss Meredith had double checked that the bath was fitted with a temperature control to which they responded positively. As a result, the same check wasn’t made during the second trip.
On the morning of April 16, Miss Meredith and Mrs Carson awoke at around 7.15am and didn’t wake Mr McGrath.
The court heard how he used to have a bath at 8am, which would be run by one of the carers.
On this occasion, Mrs Carson told how she ran the bath and put the cold water in first before moving the tap to the centre where it was warmer and while the water was coming out, she had to go into the other room to fetch Mr McGrath’s toiletries.
She told how she checked on Mr McGrath as she was walking through and he appeared to be asleep.
But, as she was in the front room, she heard a splash and immediately went back to the bathroom to find Mr McGrath had awoken and got in.
The pair assessed him and saw his skin was red but it soon returned to a normal colour, leaving them to think that everything was okay.
“We thought it was a near-miss,” added Mrs Carson. “We thought it could have been serious but when we got him out he went back to normal.”
The three then enjoyed a day out before returning to the accommodation where Mr McGrath slept between 2.30pm and 6pm.
However, as the carers were getting him ready to go out for the evening meal it was noticed that he had “three-inch” blisters on his legs.
They immediately sought medical attention and he was taken to hospital by ambulance. The court heard how they left Mr McGrath in hospital after his legs had been bandaged, and he had been moved to a high-dependency unit.
The following day, on April 17, they received a telephone call asking them to return to the hospital. Upon their arrival, they discovered that Mr McGrath had sadly passed away.
Pathologist Dr Naomi Carter told the inquest how Mr McGrath’s burns, which in Spain were recorded as being 36 per cent but which she thinks could have been as much as 50 per cent, triggered hyperglycaemia which led to him suffering a cardiac arrest.
He also suffered from aspiration pneumonia as a result of vomit in his lungs and an acute kidney illness.
Concluding, Mr Walsh said: “Geoff was a wonderful man who enjoyed his life in spite of his severe disability.”