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Mother suing caregiver in scalding, death of disabled son

Mary Anne Downing believes her son's caregiver is responsible.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The tragic death of a disabled man in his own home in Gwinnett County has led his mother to file a lawsuit.

Mary Anne Downing believes her son's caregiver and employer are responsible.

The lawsuit claims the home care worker scalded her son, Bradley Downing, so severely while giving him a bath that the injuries caused his death a month later.

The incident happened in  April 24, 2018. The 41-year-old, who was disabled, was unable to communicate verbally.

According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed in February, the attendant “sprayed Mr. Downing with scalding water, giving Mr. Downing severe burns." 

He “developed complications from the burns" and he “died because of those complications," about a month after the incident, on May 29.

Credit: Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory
Bradley Downing

The home care attendant worked for Complete Care at Home. Its offices are located in Dunwoody.

11Alive is attempting to reach the founder and owner, Lisa Riesman, for comment. The Complete Care at Home website includes testimonials from families grateful for the home care their loved ones received. And it includes a video of Riesman speaking about her passion for helping the elderly and disabled.

"That is what my entire organization is built around," she says on her video, "our passion for caring, our passion for people...." 

The lawsuit was filed in DeKalb County State Court.  Riseman has not yet filed a response.

Gwinnett County Police did not open an investigation into Bradley's death.

Bradley Downing’s family, in his obituary on Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory's website, said Downing was known for his “fantastic sense of humor.”

He communicated "through humor, physical movements and his eyes.... Bradley showed us his beautiful soul, his inspiration to live... how fragile life is."

The mother’s attorney, Lloyd Bell, said in a news release the home care attendant, who is not named in the lawsuit, and the business failed the 41-year-old.

“In this case, both the employee and Complete Care at Home failed my client,” Bell said. “The employee failed to properly care for Mr. Downing. The resulting burns led to his death and robbed him of his remaining years. The public should be aware of the risk of negligence when working with home healthcare providers. Taking care of people in their homes presents many of the same risks you find in a hospital. Providers should be held to the same standards of care.”


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