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Legal 500 (2013)

Woman of 69 Scarred for Life Due to Unlabelled Shower Taps

Margaret Cresswell went on a family holiday with her daughter, son in law and two grandchildren to Estela Do Van, Praia Do Vau in Portugal between 22 July 2004 and 5 August 2004.

On the second day of her holiday Mrs Cresswell had a shower in her hotel room, and when finished she went to turn the tap off.  However as the taps were not labelled hot or cold, Mrs Cresswell turned off the cold water.  Mrs Cresswell was immediately faced with scalding hot water pouring over her.  Mrs Cresswell tried to turn off the scalding water but the pain she was in was unbearable and in so doing, Mrs Cresswell slipped and fell landing on her side unable to move.  Mrs Cresswell’s granddaughter heard her screams and came to my rescue tuning off the water immediately.

Mrs Creswell commented “I lay there screaming and feeling completely helpless for what seemed like an eternity. I tried to move and curl up to minimise the amount of skin contact with the hot water but I was not able to. I was in tremendous pain, a sharp blinding pain, it felt like l had been stabbed or set on fire.   I could not move and the longer the water was scalding me the worse the pain became, and l was unable to do anything to prevent it.  It was like a real life nightmare.”

Mrs Creswell was rushed to hospital and had been burnt from the waist down.  Mrs Creswell was treated for shock and put on a drip because she was so dehydrated, and was given very strong pain killers to help with the extreme pain Mrs Creswell was in.  Mrs Cresswell remained in the hospital for two weeks.  A nurse from the hospital in Portugal accompanied Mrs Creswell back to the UK, and Mrs Creswell was taken straight to the Burns Unit in Selly Oak where she underwent a skin graft operation due to the severity of her burns.  When Mrs Creswell left Portugal she weighed fractionally over five stones.

Mrs Creswell states “The doctor who saw me in the burns unit told me that l had been burnt so badly that the fat beneath my skin was exposed.  The doctors had to take skin from my other leg for the skin graft and they took so much that l felt like l was being skinned.  It left my other leg feeling very raw”.

Mrs Creswell states “Following the accident l would lie awake at night scared to go to sleep in case l had a nightmare or flashback of the accident, and even to this day l occasionally wake up suddenly from my sleep.   I also suffered from increased levels of pain and agitation from my injuries at night and the pain was sometimes too severe to allow me to fall asleep, so l would just lie there thinking of what happened.  I still now usually think of the accident late at night when l am in bed before l go to sleep.  Since the accident l have had to start taking analgesic tablets to help me sleep.

Mrs Creswell required care and assistance and was unable to complete most tasks during her recovery period.  Mrs Creswell still requires help to this day due to her injuries and the continuing effects they have on her life due her restricted mobility.

Mrs Creswell still suffers with pain from her wounds and has to regularly take pain killers.  Mrs Creswell states “ I have to take two Tramadol and two Paracetamol tablets every four hours. Up until a year ago I used to have to take one tablet of Codeine every four hours. Before the accident I never used to take many painkillers, but since the accident my body is reliant upon them. I also have to apply E45 cream and Aqueous cream to the wound twice a day otherwise it becomes very dry and will begin to itch. I am constantly aware of the pain and feel upset that I have no choice but to put up with it. I have forced myself to accept that it is part of me and my life now. I always feel a constant pulling and tugging feeling from the wounds and get intermittent shooting pains, which are made worse by cold weather”.

Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited admitted liability for our client’s accident.  Irwin Mitchell solicitors negotiated a settlement on behalf of the client in the sum of £35,000.

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