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Girl loses 8 fingers in bucket of plaster of Paris in school art lesson

(17 Posts)
SomeGuy Mon 12-Oct-09 21:42:41


The girl was making a cast of her hands in January 2007, magistrates in Boston, Lincolnshire, were told.

The plaster heated up and set. Neither staff nor paramedics could get it off, leaving the pupil at Giles School in Boston with serious burns.

The school admitted breaching health and safety rules.

It also admitted failing to report the matter to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which only found out about what happened from the girl's plastic surgeon

Jo Anderson, prosecuting for the HSE, said the girl had been told by her teacher to put her hands into clay to make a mould.

She was then supposed to pour the liquid plaster into the clay mould. Instead she put her hand up to the wrist into the bucket of plaster.

It is understood the mixture began to solidify within about 10 minutes and she soon realised she could not remove her hands.

"The student's hands were literally being burnt as the plaster was setting around them," Miss Anderson said.

"There was no way the student could or should have known of the catastrophic consequences."

Plastic surgeons did what they could to help the girl, but after 12 operations she was left with no fingers on one hand and just two on the other.

"But she is a very stoical. She is a very determined, self sufficient character but she is now only left with one forefinger and an index finger."

Mr Hill said his client had now had enough of surgery.

It had not only left her with just two fingers, it also with severe scars all over her body where the plastic surgeons had taken skin for grafts.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 12-Oct-09 21:44:58


fishie Mon 12-Oct-09 21:45:08

crikey. and people say that risk assessments are ruining lives....

LynetteScavo Mon 12-Oct-09 21:48:20

I had no idea Plaster of Paris could do that!
shock Poor girl!

hocuspontas Mon 12-Oct-09 21:52:41

Poor girl. sad

What disasterous consequences for which was obviously a misunderstood instruction.

Heated Mon 12-Oct-09 21:57:49

Only £2500 costs awarded against the school. But what a dreadful thing to happen.

Assuming she will get further compensation?

Jajas Mon 12-Oct-09 21:59:51

I heard this on the radio and it just turned my stomach, what a dreadful thing to have happened, sure no-one could have foreseen the outcome sad

sugardumpling Mon 12-Oct-09 22:04:37

thats awful! Poor girl

purepurple Mon 12-Oct-09 22:06:10

Awful. sad

Goblinchild Mon 12-Oct-09 22:08:10

We've not been allowed to use Plaster of Paris for anything in primary for years.
Modelling powder warms with the chemical reaction as it sets, but with nowhere near the intensity of PoP.
A truly horrible accident, with lack of awareness and safety procedures on the part of the school a huge factor.
No one should end up mutilated because they didn't follow instructions in a school environment.

bluejeans Mon 12-Oct-09 22:08:44

This really chilled me as you could see how it could happen

On the radio it said £19,000 I'm wondering if it's a mistake on the BBC website. I read it on there at work and thought it wasn't a lot

The photo is horrible

FlightAttendant Mon 12-Oct-09 22:09:21

Jesus, poor thing and poor teacher as well sad

I didn't know plaster could do this either.

I can;t understand why they didn't just smash it off as it was setting. It's quite brittle stuff.

How horrific sad

Goblinchild Mon 12-Oct-09 22:14:55

I knew, but then I used it in school in the early 1980s.
If it's in a bucket, it welds to the sides and is very hard to access. A power saw might have coped, but the plaster clogs them up.
Plus the level of panic in the room would have slowed people's thinking and effective responses down.
I used to cast blocks for carving in ice cream tubs which had to be cut off the plaster.

FlightAttendant Mon 12-Oct-09 22:18:50

God, that just sounds terrible.

What an appalling ordeal.

I have got some in the house which I use for mending dolls...better hide it from the kids I think now. It is just the kind of thing ds would do.

differentnameforthis Mon 12-Oct-09 22:27:29

The 19k is the fine imposed on the school, not her compensation, that hasn't been awarded yet.

lottiebunny Mon 12-Oct-09 22:27:56

bluejeans, I think the £19k was broken down into £16.5k fine from HSE and £2.5k costs for the case. None of it is compensation for the girl.

Civil case is still ongoing which is presumably for the compo. I hope that the school had decent insurance because this girl deserves a lot of money.

LittleWhiteWolf Mon 12-Oct-09 22:33:51

Thats shocking. That poor, brave girl. What a hideous accident and what a stupid teacher not to have researched the possible health and safety risks beforehand.
I never knew PoP did that, but thats no excuse for the teacher or school IMO.

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