3 Aug 2015

Legal action possible over fatal care breach

3:24 pm on 3 August 2015

An untrained caregiver whose client died in a fire after he left him locked in his home while he went out for food faces possible legal action.

In a report today, Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall said the man left two vulnerable clients locked in.

The report does not name the 20-year-old who died but Radio New Zealand understands he was Otto Rapihana, who was autistic and was being looked after in a west Auckland flat at the time of the fire in late 2012.

His caregiver, known only as Mr D, was an independent contractor employed by Care Group Limited.

Ms Wall said the caregiver was unaware of Mr Rapihana's fascination with lighters and fire, was largely untrained, and should not have been managing two vulnerable clients and a toddler at once.

She has referred Mr D and Care Group for possible legal action.