Belfast Telegraph

Woman's burns agony in Causeway Hospital acid horror

By Chris Kilpatrick

A woman fears she has been left scarred after slipping in a highly corrosive fluid that oozed through the ceiling of a Northern Ireland hospital.

Louise Moody, who works for the health trust that oversees the Causeway Hospital, was left in excruciating pain following the accident at the Coleraine facility.

She is currently being treated in the burns unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for serious injuries to her back and arms.

Ms Moody, an administrator at the Northern Trust for more than 30 years, was working at the Causeway on Friday afternoon when she heard a strange noise close to the X-ray department.

When she went to investigate, she said she discovered a brown liquid seeping through the ceiling and into a corridor.

As Ms Moody moved to cordon off the area she slipped and fell into the spillage and immediately felt her skin burning.

She said the substance – suspected to be an acid used for cleaning pipes – immediately ate through her clothing.

The Northern Trust has launched an investigation into the incident.

Ms Moody said the extent of the burns she sustained means she will probably require skin grafts.

"I keep thinking it's a nightmare and I'm going to wake up," she said. "I have extensive burns to my back and my two arms. I've been told I'll probably need skin grafts.

"It's fortunate that this substance didn't come down upon a waiting room full of patients."

Ms Moody said she was terrified when the substance began to burn her skin.

"At first I thought that must have been boiling water as my back was burning immediately," she told the Coleraine Times.

"I was pulling the blouse away from my back and two orthopaedic staff who were up the corridor ran up to help me.

"The blouse just disintegrated in my hands and they ripped it off me and helped splash water on my back.

"I was out in a wheelchair and taken to A&E.

"I was in a lot of pain and in total shock." DUP MLA for the area, Adrian McQuillan, called for an immediate inquiry into the incident.

"Somebody has to be held responsible for this," he said.

"What has happened to Louise is awful but it could easily have been a young child who could have been blinded or worse. It's shocking."

A spokeswoman for the Northern Trust said: "The trust can confirm an incident occurred in a corridor in Causeway Hospital on Friday August 22. Unfortunately, a member of staff was accidentally injured.

"No services have been disrupted and the hospital is functioning as usual.

"A full investigation into the situation has commenced, therefore the trust can make no further comment at this time."

Background

The horror incident involving the corrosive liquid happened in the same week the Causeway Hospital apologised over the death of a newborn.

Tracy Hook's baby Alexis was born by emergency Caesarean section at the Causeway Hospital in July 2012 but within minutes developed breathing problems and died.

Senior Coroner John Leckey ruled that there were five failings in the care given to the mother in labour which led to her baby's death.

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