A California family is suing a nurse that they say burned their disabled son with a chemical that caused severe pain and left the 4-year-old boy permanently scarred.
Chris Bautista and Abbey Michel told KTLA News in a videotaped interview (shown below) that their son, Adam, was born with a condition that caused his brain to not fully develop.
“It basically means he is in a vegetative state,” Michel said, adding that Adam can really just move his head from side to side and can’t even sit up on his own.
They claim that one evening in March they left Adam in the care of Debra Hunniford, an employee of Nu Era Home Health Agency, who had cared for their son almost since the time he was born.
“You think you can trust someone you’ve known for four years and your baby comes home burned,” Bautista said.
The couple said they went to party that night and when Hunniford brought Adam home at the end of the evening he was so badly burned they had to rush him to the hospital.
“When he came (home) it was like bubbly, blistered,” said Bautista.
Michel said Hunniford told the couple that Adam was burned in a bath because she failed to realize how hot the water was.
Adam reportedly spent a week in the hospital while being treated for his injuries.
The couple’s attorney, Mark Peacock, said something about the hot water story didn’t add up.
In a news release, published on PR Newswire, Peacock said a lab report indicated tests on the Adam’s shirt from that evening revealed evidence of “alkali, probably sodium hydroxide,” a chemical which “would cause severe blistering and pain” if it came in contact with skin.
Sodium hydroxide is a fairly common chemical, often found in liquid drain cleaners, Peacock explained in an interview with KTLA.
The attorney and the family have now filed a civil lawsuit against Hunniford and Nu Era, claiming the nurse not only caused the burns but then failed to treat Adam once he was injured, KTLA reports.
Peacock said he hopes the suit will bring some answers to the family.
“Why was Ms. Hunniford allowed to take Adam from his house?” he asked in his news release. “Why was he burned? What was he burned with? Why did it take hours to report the incident to the Bautistas? Did Nu Era do an adequate background check on Ms. Hunniford?”
“I am looking forward to the litigation so as to discover all the facts surrounding this tragic event,” he added.
It is unclear what, if any, compensation the couple is seeking with the suit.
Nu Era released this statement to KTLA regarding the incident:
“Nu-Era Health Agency, Inc. has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Adam Bautista. We dispute all allegations raised by the Plaintiff. Nu-Era is not a proper defendant.
"At the time of the alleged incident, Adam Bauista was in the care and custody of Debra Hunniford, who was providing off-duty baby-sitting services in her own home. Ms. Hunniford was not working for Nu-Era the evening the incident occurred. Any acts committed by Debra Hunniford were not authorized or sanctioned by Nu-Era. ”
Photo Credit: Screen shots from YouTube and Adam Batista via PR Newswire