JERSEY CITY - A toddler is fighting to overcome third-degree burns caused by scalding hot water, allegedly while under the care of her in-home nurse.
Destiny Abdelmalak is listed in critical condition at the burn unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center with burns over 20 percent of her body. She was born prematurely and requires home nursing care.
Her mother, Mariam Khella, says it was one of Destiny's nurses who caused the life-threatening injuries and then tried to cover it up.
Destiny suffered the severe burns to her legs on June 5 when she was placed in a baby bath tub filled with scalding hot water, according to her mother.
Khella was at work at the time, and Destiny was in the care of her in-home nurse, who she says made up a story about a rash.
Destiny's mother says she knew something was wrong the moment she got off the elevator in her apartment building because she could already hear her child screaming.
Khella says she found Destiny fully-clothed and sitting in her high chair crying in pain. She used scissors to cut away the fabric and was horrified by what she saw underneath.
"I'm rolling the pants up, and I see no skin," Khella says. As she continued to remove Destiny's pants, burned skin fell into her hand.
Khella says her daughter will now spend at least three weeks at St. Barnabas, far from her home and her favorite toys.
Destiny is in intensive care, and hooked up to tubes to help her breathe and control her pain.
The nurse, 30-year-old Ellen Iwudibia, of Hillside, has been charged with aggravated assault, child endangerment and child abuse.