A FIERCELY independent Rye lady of 96 was badly scalded after slipping in her bath an inquest at Hastings heard this week.
Davenport House resident Kathleen Pearson was rushed to the Conquest on April 11 this year after her daughter spotted her badly burned leg and back when visiting to take her out.
She was later transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead but died on April 27 from Bronchopneumonia after contracting an infection.
Her daughter Frances Hadfield told the inquest: “She was not the sort of person who would complain and had a high pain threshold.
When we arrived to take her out she was in her armchair and looked pale. She said that her leg was hurting. It was red raw and we called an ambulance.”
Pathologist Dr Ian Hawley said that Mrs Pearson had burns on her legs and lower back consistent with laying in hot water on her back.
Coroner Alan Craze said: “It has been suggested she fell into the bath and was unable to turn the hot tap off.”
Mrs Hadfield felt that one explanation could have been that the bath mat had been pushed forward and had then blocked the plughole, preventing the hot water from draining away.
Dr Hawley said Mrs Pearson had suffered nine percent burns, which would not usually in itself be enough to cause death.
He said: “Burns like that would not normally kill you, but there were complications and elderly people are at risk of infection.”
The inquest heard that Mrs Pearson had lived alone since the death of her husband in 1970. Her family encouraged her to move to a flat in Davenport House, which was closer to the centre of Rye.
Frances Hadfield said: “She was very happy there and loved her little flat.”
Coroner Mr Craze said: “We shall never know exactly what happened as she was on her own at the time.
“She was a very independent lady despite her years.”
He recorded a verdict of accidental death and offered his condolences to the family.
Frances Hadfield praised the Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead for its high quality care and also praised the warden at Davenport House, who regularly checked on her.