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Jeanette De Bono

February 4, 2011

A woman who suffers from a rare genetic disorder suffered 40% burns when she was lowered into a scalding bath at a nursing home, a court has heard.

Jeanette De Bono needed intravenous pain relief after the accident at Eight Ash Court nursing home in Colchester, Essex, in August 2002.

Miss De Bono, now 28, has Retts Syndrome and has been in residential care for most of her life.

At the High Court substantial damages were agreed by the nursing home firm.

The court heard that nursing staff mistook her distress at being lowered into the bath for an epileptic fit.

‘Appalling case’

Miss De Bono has a severe learning disability, no verbal communication, and epilepsy.

Miss De Bono’s complex needs were now being met at The Dairy House care home, in Taunton, Somerset, near the home of her parents, Errol and Joyce.

The settlement against nursing firm Wellcare Nursing Home would provide her with equipment like a powered wheelchair and a vehicle to allow the family to go on outings.

Jonathan Watt-Pringle QC expressed the defendant’s deep regret for Miss De Bono’s injuries and hopes for a better future.

The judge said that it was a case of an injury which was described correctly as “appalling”.

He added: “The horror of it was that the claimant was unable to communicate and when she was lowered into a bath of water which was far too hot for her, her physical reactions were interpreted as an epileptic fit.”

He said that the defendant had recognised at an early stage that it should be responsible for all the financial consequences.

These had been difficult to determine because of Miss De Bono’s existing disabilities, the court heard.

“It is plain that Miss De Bono has devoted and loving parents and it is plain that they have, on her behalf, been very well advised,” the judge added.

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