Cancer patient died four days after suffering 9% burns when he fell into hot bath

James Niland was taken to hospital after falling into the bath
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

A cancer patient died four days after suffering extensive burns when he fell into a scalding hot bath.

James Anthony Niland was taken to hospital after suffering extensive nine per cent burns at his home in Brownhill Avenue, Burnley, on March 21 this year. The 79-year-old was known to start running a very hot bath "first thing in the morning" each day before getting in at 2pm once the water had cooled down.

Mr Niland, who had advanced liver and lung cancer, was described as being "drowsy" on arrival at the hospital. He was transferred to the Royal Preston Hospital but died four days later after developing an infection.

At a pre-inquest review held in April, Area Coroner Kate Bisset said: "It is likely that he would have died due to his advanced cancer diagnosis. His daughter said he would run a very hot bath first thing in the morning and get into it at 2pm."

Mr Niland, who was born in Burnley, was a retired piling rig driver. The cause of his death was recorded as burns and liver cancer with the fall, lung cancer and frailty of old age listed as contributory factors.

Returning a narrative conclusion following a final hearing on June 21, Assistant Coroner Laura Fox said: "James Anthony Niland died on the 25th March 2024 at the Royal Preston Hospital. On the 21st March 2024, he suffered a fall into his bathtub whilst at home and sustained nine per cent total body surface area burns to his left flank and buttock.

"Mr Niland had significant underlying medical conditions including advanced liver cancer for which he was receiving palliative care.

"Whilst it is not possible to determine whether an accident or a medical event caused Mr Niland to fall, his direct cause of death was attributable to the burns he sustained as a result of the fall and his liver cancer diagnosis."