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Sam boal

Sligo man died from burns suffered while taking a hot bath, inquest hears

The man had to be airlifted by helicopter to hospital because of the extent of the burns to his body after being scalded by hot water.

A SLIGO MAN has died as a result of severe burn injuries sustained while he was taking a hot bath in his home, an inquest has heard.

A sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard evidence that Seán Giblin (57) from Ballymeeney, Dromore West, Co Sligo had to be airlifted by helicopter to hospital in Dublin due to the extent of the burns to his body after being scalded with hot water when he could not turn off the tap to the bath.

Mr Giblin, a single man, died three weeks later on June 29, 2021 in the burns unit of St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

The inquest heard that hospital staff originally believed the patient would make a full recovery from his injuries but post-mortem results showed Mr Giblin died as a result of multiple organ failure due to the extent of the burns to his body. 

In a statement provided to the court, the deceased’s sister, Philomena Giblin, said her brother liked to take regular baths as he found they helped to ease back pain from which he suffered.

Ms Giblin recalled that he had the immersion heater on when she called to his house on the evening of June 8, 2021.

When she returned the following morning to bring him to a hospital appointment in Sligo, Ms Giblin said her brother shouted out that he still had to take a bath when she knocked on his door.

Ms Giblin said she waited for a while in her car and her brother cried out that he was still not out of the bath when she checked again at 11am.

A short time later, she described hearing his screaming as he was trying to get out of the bath and shouting out “I think I burnt myself.”

Ms Giblin said her brother’s back was red and some of his skin was peeling.

While he did not believe he needed to see a doctor, Ms Giblin said she called a local GP who treated his burns and recommended that he be seen by paramedics.

The inquest was told that paramedics decided the patient needed to be airlifted to hospital in Dublin for treatment as soon as possible after they estimated he had suffered 30% burns to his body with injuries to his back, buttocks and right leg.

They calculated his level of pain as “8 out of 10.”

Evidence was heard that Mr Giblin was placed on a ventilator during his stay in St James’s Hospital, while he underwent surgery for a skin graft on June 20, 2021 for severe burns to 12% of his body.

Ms Giblin said her brother had “quite a bit to drink” on the evening before he suffered the burn injuries and she found small pieces of glass in the bath, while he also had small cuts to his body.

However, the coroner, Aisling Gannon, said toxicology reports did not indicate that alcohol was a factor in what happened in the bath, although she noted that he had a history of drinking and smoking while he also had a hip replacement in 2020.

The coroner said Mr Giblin also had an underlying heart condition as well as fatty liver disease which were contributory factors in his death.

Noting that Mr Giblin had died from multiple organ failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome arising from his burn injuries, Ms Gannon returned a verdict of accidental death.

Seán McCárthaigh