News Professional Discipline 15th May 2017

Tom Day represents GP following fire that killed pensioner

Tom Day appeared on behalf of a GP who prescribed paraffin based emollients to an elderly, bed-bound woman, who was known to smoke in bed, at an inquest concerning the death of the individual in a house fire.

The inquest lasted one week and considered evidence from fire officers, fire investigation officers, medical professionals and care workers.

Among the many issues considered at the inquest was whether the use of a paraffin based emollient may have contributed to the fire.

It has been understood for many years that paraffin based emollients that contain in excess of 50% paraffin were a fire hazard. Recent cases heard by coroners including various well known emollients available over-the-counter had raised the potential that the use of emollients that contain as little as 11% paraffin may pose a fire hazard.

This case required examination of a report by the fire investigation officer concerning the flammability of these low percentage paraffin based emollients. It was necessary to highlight the limitations and weaknesses of this report, to avoid unsustainable conclusions being drawn from it.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death and made no criticism of Tom’s client.

Click here to read more about the case in the press.

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