Hanley pensioner stuck for an hour in the tub after bath lift snaps
DISABLED pensioner Linda Lowe was left stuck in her bath after her council-supplied lift fell apart.
The 62-year-old had raised concerns over the btah hoist just two days before it snapped, but was reassured by an officer that the equipment was safe.
Miss Lowe, who suffers from arthritis and a hernia, only managed to haul herself out of the bath after an hour, following the incident last month.
The seat of the Neptune bath lift, which had been installed less than two weeks earlier, broke beneath Miss Lowe, leaving her with scratches on her back.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now installed a new lift at Miss Lowe's flat in Lindop Court, Hanley, but she remains 'terrified' that she could be left in serious difficulties if the problem reoccurs.
Miss Lowe said: "I had the same bath chair for 12 years but that broke down when the charge just went on it.
"I rang social services and they brought me a new one. I was a bit worried about it because the seat didn't seem as thick, and it made banging noises when it went up and down.
"A man came round to look at it but he said it was new, and it could lift up to 25 stones, and I don't weigh anywhere near that.
"I'd only used it a couple of times when it broke. I was using it to get into the bath when it just collapsed. When I looked behind me I could see that the seat had just snapped off. When the man came to collect it he said he'd never seen anything like that happen before.
"I think I was lucky that I managed to get out. When it broke it left a sharp end which scratched my back. I don't know what would have happened if it had cut me. I hurt my good leg getting out of the bath, and because I was stuck in there for an hour I caught a cold."
Miss Lowe's new lift is a different model, and council officers have also installed two new rails to help her get in and out.
But the pensioner says she still feels fearful about using the lift again.
She said: "I'm terrified of using it, but it's the only way I can have a bath. I can't stand long enough to use a shower, and my doctor tells me my mobility is likely to get worse rather than better. If I was 80 I wouldn't have made it out of the bath."
Residents in Stoke-on-Trent who qualify for social care services can hire equipment for free from the city council's Mobility and Independent Living Centre, in Trentham.
The centre stocks bath lifts as well as other aids to assist independent living.
Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for social services at the city council, said: "We sympathise with Miss Lowe's position and are looking fully into the situation.
"Miss Lowe was issued with a replacement bath lift that was as close a technical match to the one that she previously had, to ensure that controls and fittings were in keeping with those that she is familiar with."