Downing, who suffered a brain injury as a young child, was developmentally stunted and was mostly non-verbal, Bell said. A Complete Care employee, who was not named in the lawsuit, was bathing him at his family’s Gwinnett home when she set the water temperature to “scalding,” the suit alleges.
“She didn’t test the water temperature before starting to rinse him off,” Bell said. “Bradley screams at the top of his lungs … He was severely burned across his upper torso.”
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His mother rushed into the bathroom, and the nursing assistant told her what had happened, Bell said.
Downing was rushed to the Grady Memorial Hospital, where he spent two and a half months in the burn unit. His body swelled, he developed pneumonia and he was eventually released into hospice care, where he died a short time later in May 2018, Bell said.
The lawsuit asks for damages for the full value of Downing’s life, and compensations for medical and funeral costs.
Downing’s mother Mary Anne Downing, who primarily cared for him, has held up well over the last 10 months given the circumstances, Bell said.
“Bradley was sort of her life,” he said. “She’s very disappointed with the way the company has responded to the incident. … In her view they have not taken this as seriously as they need to.”
Mary Anne Downing hopes this case raises awareness for the struggles faced by people with disabilities, Bell said.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of cases where vulnerable people, particularly children and adults with disabilities, have experienced injuries at the hand of caregivers,” he said. Bell pointed out that in this case, he does not believe the nurse did anything to intentionally or maliciously hurt Downing.
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In other news:
The 2-year-old is recovering at the hospital