Care home resident suffers ‘sickening’ burns after catching fire smoking a cigarette


A safeguarding inquiry has been launch after an 80-year-old woman caught fire while smoking a cigarette at a Leeds care home.

Kathleen Bickersteth was left with “sickening” burns to her face, neck, body and back after her clothes caught alight while smoking a cigarette alone in her wheelchair in the grounds of Four Seasons’ Harrogate Lodge Care Home, the BBC reported.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “A request was made to Leeds City’s Council Adult Social Care team.  A safeguarding enquiry has now been instigated into this issue.”

Granddaughter Natasha O’Reilly said Mrs Bickersteth had been left outside to smoke alone after a carer lit her cigarette. Ms O’Reilly said her grandmother had been badly burnt after her cigarette end blew off and caught fire on her clothes. Ms O’Reilly said a passer-by, who witnessed the incident, had come to Mrs Bickersteth’s aid.

A Four Seasons spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned at the injuries suffered by this patient as a result of this accident and the distress this has caused to her and her family. Having conducted our own thorough investigation and having consulted with the relevant authorities, we are certain that there was no breach of our strict safeguarding policies and we are fully satisfied that we have followed the required protocols in this case. This includes conducting checks on those in the garden every 15 minutes. We will work with any and all of the relevant authorities should they wish to further investigate this matter.”

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