Woman (88) died after falling into a scalding hot bath
An elderly cancer sufferer died a week after she accidentally fell into a hot bath and sustained severe burns.
Yuet Sheung Tang (88), from Oakdale Close, Ballycullen, Dublin 24, was leaning over the bath washing her hair when she fell in, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.
She was staying with her son and his family following a lung cancer diagnosis when, on September 21, 2015, her daughter-in-law Pow Yin Shak heard screaming and ran to the bathroom upstairs. She found the elderly lady in the bath.
“The hot water tap was running, there was steam coming off the water, I knew it was very hot,” Ms Yin Shak said. “She was lying on her back. She was still conscious, she was screaming ‘burning, hot, very hot’.”
The woman’s son, Shi An Chen, said his mother liked to keep both the house and herself clean.
“Despite her age, she liked to clean up around the house. And she liked to keep herself clean. She would often spend 30 minutes in the shower,” he said.
Ms Yin Shak described her as a “very clean lady”.
“She bathed frequently. She would always want to be by herself but I would help her. Usually I would fill the bath and help her in,” she said.
On this occasion, Ms Yin Shak understood her mother-in-law was washing her hair, not taking a bath, and had left her alone as a result.
A neighbour scooped the elderly woman out of the bath and laid her on a bed.
“The tap was running, it was hot water, there was about three or four inches of water in the bath,” Chin Lin King said.
The gas boiler at the house was broken and the family was using the electric boiler to heat the water that day, the court heard. An ambulance was called and Ms Sheung Tang was transferred to the burns unit at St James’s Hospital. She had suffered 21pc severe burns to her body, mostly to her back and arms, the court heard.
Over the following days, she developed low blood pressure and kidney failure and died in hospital on September 29.
A post-mortem report found she had developed pneumonia around the tumour in her right lung and had suffered a series of small strokes as a result of low blood pressure. The cause of death was pneumonia, acute kidney failure and stroke due to burns as a result of a scald.
“It was just a very unfortunate accident in the home that led to the burns, which led to her death,” coroner Dr Crona Gallagher said, returning a verdict of accidental death.
“She was obviously a very independent lady and, despite having a serious illness, was coping very well and was obviously looked after very well by her family.”