Parents are suing Wolfeboro Area Children’s Center after an incident that resulted in their son receiving second-degree burns.
Wolfeboro Area Children’s Center was recently hit with a lawsuit by a Brookfield couple over allegations that their son suffered “second-degree burns over more than 15% of his body” during an incident at the daycare. According to the lawsuit, the child was 13-months-old when he “reached for a bowl on a kitchen counter that contained scalding water used to sterilize a pacifier.” As a result, the child sustained burns, prompting Patrick and Deanna Hanley to file the lawsuit in which they argue the children’s center “owed a duty of care to their son, Jack, to exercise reasonable care in monitoring, supervising and protecting him from foreseeable harm.” The couple further argues that the center’s carelessness and negligence not only resulted in severe burns but also “permanent scarring, pain, mental and emotional anguish, inconvenience, medical bills, and related expenses.”
In response to the suit, William Joseph Flanagan, the attorney representing the children’s center, denied the allegations of liability and instead wants the parents to “prove their allegations.”
How did the incident happen, though? For starters, it all happened back on December 28, 2018, around 3:15 p.m. According to the lawsuit, Deanna Hanley received a call from the children’s center notifying her that “Jack had been marginally burned by some spilled water, that his skin was a little pink and that it was not severe enough to warrant hospital treatment.” Concerned, Mrs. Hanley left work and called the center back to speak to Executive Director Teri Ann Cox. During the phone conversation, Mrs. Hanley asked if her son needed emergency services.
According to the complaint, which was written by attorney James Cowles of Walker & Varney P.C., Cox told Mrs. Hanley that her son did not need emergency services and told her to take her time. Cox also allegedly told her that Jack “looked like he has a sunburn and that a later visit to Jack’s pediatrician would suffice.” Cowles is the attorney representing the family.
The lawsuit further alleges that instead of contacting emergency services, a center employee, Darcy Crawford, “blotted cold water on Jack’s burns.” At around 4 p.m., Mrs. Hanley arrived at the center and found her son “screaming and crying in pain, covered in large swollen blisters and lesions caused by severe burns on his head, face, chest, torso and left arm,” according to the suit. Upon seeing the state of her son, Mrs. Hanley insisted that the center contact 911 and call for an ambulance, but Cox allegedly responded that she “should be the one to call 911.”
Once an ambulance eventually arrived, the child was rushed to Huggins Hospital before he was transferred to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, “which specializes in pediatric burn treatment.” The suit states his injuries include “hypertrophic scaring and epidermal fibrosis.” To make matters worse, “his follow-up care required painful and frequent drainage, debridement and dressing treatments.”
Jack’s parents weren’t the only ones horrified by the state of his burns, though. In fact, the responding EMT was so alarmed by the incident and how the center handled it that the “ambulance company he works for filed a complaint with the state Division for Children, Youth and Families.” That complaint was then “transferred for investigation to the Wolfeboro Police Department and the state Department of Health and Human Services,” according to the lawsuit. As a result, DHHS issued the children’s center a corrective action plan that includes “ensuring line of sight supervision of children at all times, installation of a protective gate in front of the kitchen to limit accessibility by youngsters and establishing a new protocol for disinfecting pacifiers by leaving boiling water inside the microwave until fully attended to by an adult.”