A doctor who treated 16-month-old Damon Gaddis for burns in June 2014 testified in Hall County Superior Court on Tuesday that the child likely was scalded.
“When we evaluated him, this was the feeling of all the caregivers involved,” said Dr. Richard Cartie of Joseph M. Still Burn Centers in Augusta.
Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva wrapped up the state’s case against Eddye Pittmon, who is charged with inflicting burns on Damon at Discovering Basics day care in Clermont, with Cartie’s testimony.
Earlier testimony indicated the child first had been evaluated at an urgent care center before being referred to the emergency room at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
From there, Damon was sent to Augusta, where he was seen by Cartie, who specializes in treating critical burns in children.
Cartie said Damon suffered second- and third-degree burns on his left leg, abdomen and genitals and that the Department of Family and Children Services was called in because of the “circumstances surrounding the burn.”
“We had … to arrive at a safety plan before he was discharged,” Cartie said.
He described the child’s treatment, including a skin graft and later visits to the burn hospital’s clinic in Atlanta.
“As far as I know, (the child) is still continuing to do well,” Cartie said.
Pittmon is on trial this week facing aggravated battery and child cruelty charges.
Her lawyer, Troy Millikan, has contended the burns occurred before Pittmon tended to the child, saying that she noticed a blister instead.
Prosecutors “are trying to say the burn and the blister happened at the same time,” he told jurors in his opening statement. “It doesn’t. A blister is a reaction to (the burn).”
Asked by Sachdeva about the timing of burns and blisters, Cartie said, “Given the severity of his burns, I would anticipate that when he received the burns, it was immediately evident with blistering that these were, at the very least, second-degree burns.”
“With first and second-degree burns, you can have blistering that shows up in a couple of hours, rather than instantly, can’t you?” Millikan asked.
“Yes,” Cartie said.
Also charged in the case are Discovering Basics owner Minnie Sue Dupree and site director Tara Miller, both of Gainesville.
Dupree is charged with giving false statements to authorities. She is accused of telling an investigator “that the running water in the infant room … did not get hot,” the indictment states.
“The initial information we received was there was no running hot water (in the room),” Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Angelyn Miller testified. “During the course of our interviews, we discovered there was, in fact, running hot water.”
A Sheriff’s Office search of the property about a week after the first search confirmed there was running hot water, she said.
Testimony indicated hot water in a sink tested at 135 degrees.
Miller is charged with second-degree child cruelty.
On that charge, she and Pittmon are accused of not seeking medical attention for the child’s burn, according to the indictment.
The case is scheduled to resume Wednesday afternoon with the defense presenting its case.