Nursing Home Sued over Residentís Near-fatal Burns

Nursing Home Sued over Residentís Near-fatal Burns

A lawsuit has been filed against a nursing home by San Mateo County on the behalf of a mentally disabled woman who was nearly fatally burned in a nursing home abuse case.

The lawsuit seeks actual and punitive damages for Theresa Rodriguez who continues to rack up $3,000 per day for treatment as a result of the devastating burns she suffered three years ago. The suit names ResCare and a nurse’s aid as defendants.

The Incident

The mentally disabled nursing home resident, Theresa Rodriguez, was left seated in a shower at ResCare when a malfunction caused scalding hot water to pour out all over her.

Rodriguez, who is unable to walk or speak, suffered third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body.

Oretha Ocansey, a nurse’s aid, put a diaper on Rodriguez, but did not notify her supervisor of the incident for about two hours. About an hour after the supervisor was notified, Rodriguez was finally airlifted to a hospital where she had to spend more than two hours on life support.


Ocansey was arrested in July. During the investigation into Ocansey’s role in the accident, prosecutors discovered that the nursing home forbade staff from calling 911 until after notifying a supervisor.

She was still culpable, however, because she took two hours to alert her boss, the prosecution said.

Ocansey pled no contest to a felony count of elder abuse and received 34 days in prison, probation, and is now banned from working in healthcare facilities. If she had been found guilty in a jury trial, she would have faced up to four years in prison.

The nursing home has filed a demurrer, which argues that the home should not be held liable for the actions of a single employee. It is not yet known if ResCare will be let off the hook.

Victim of Nursing Home Abuse? If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, do not suffer silently. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a compassionate and experienced personal injury attorney who may be able to help you recover compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses and more.

Find a Lawyer Now

Search for a Personal Injury lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.