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Nurse in hot water attack in Steeton
2:30pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A mental-health nurse has been left permanently scarred after a paranoid schizophrenic threw hot water from a kettle over her at a hospital unit in Steeton.
The incident happened in March 2011 at the Willows Hospital after in-patient Lynda Mason went missing from her unit and was later found in a locked kitchen.
Bradford Crown Court heard last Thursday that when Mason eventually opened the kitchen door, she threw the contents of the kettle at nurse Patricia Rowbotham.
Miss Rowbotham described how she put her hand up to protect herself and the hot water went on to her left arm and side.
Although Miss Rowbotham put cold water on the scald to her arm, the injury became more severe and turned into a large blister. She was given antibiotics but it became infected and she eventually had to undergo surgery for a skin graft.
She told the court a big piece of skin had to be taken from her thigh and attached to her arm.
Miss Rowbotham, who still works at the hospital now known as The Priory, said she now has no feeling in the area of skin on her arm and the site of the graft on her thigh was extremely painful after the surgery.
Eight months after the incident Mason was interviewed by police at the hospital, but just a few hours later she again threw hot water at another member of staff. Fortunately on that occasion in November 2011, the victim – Mildred Bennette – suffered only reddening and soreness to her arm.
Due to her mental illness, 49-year-old Mason was deemed unfit to plead to charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Miss Rowbotham and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Mrs Bennette. But a jury determined Mason had committed the acts.
After reading a report on Mason’s mental state and hearing from a doctor, Judge John Potter concluded it was appropriate to make a hospital order without limit of time, which means she will continue to be detained at The Priory.
The judge told Mason: “The reason why you behaved in that way is because you are unwell.
“It is quite clear you are somebody who has a learning disability and significantly suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.''