A home caregiver in Anoka County has been charged with criminal neglect after an 83-year-old man under his care was found naked and moaning in pain, with badly infected bedsores that were allegedly left untreated for weeks.
Mark L. Durocher, 56, of Coon Rapids, failed to provide basic care for the ailing man, who missed numerous hospice appointments between July and August of last year, according to the criminal complaint. A social worker and registered nurse were scheduled to visit the man once a week, but appointments were canceled and no one answered the door when they tried to visit, according to court records.
When emergency medical personnel arrived at the home, they found the man lying on a mattress with minimal clothing, no bedsheets and multiple bloodstains, court records say. He had multiple ulcers on his body, and it was unclear whether he had been bathed, according to a criminal complaint in Anoka County District Court.
Days later, a nurse again found the man naked, lying in the dark, with “blood and puss” pouring from bandages that were “severely in need of changing,” the criminal complaint said.
Reached by telephone Tuesday morning at his home, Durocher said he was not ready to respond to the allegations. He has been charged with two counts of neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in bodily harm, both felonies. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on March 27.
Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said the allegations were among the most serious he could remember.
“When a vulnerable adult is found in their own feces … and is being isolated from caregivers, those are some of the worst cases we’ve seen,” Palumbo said.
In 2016, Minnesota received 71,665 allegations of maltreatment involving vulnerable adults across the state. By far, the largest single category was caregiver neglect, which accounted for 39 percent of the allegations, according to data tracked by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Ribs were visible
The alleged neglect was first reported to the Minnesota’s adult abuse reporting hotline on Aug. 3, 2017, by an employee at Allina Home Health and Hospice. The employee said Durocher had been canceling appointments and failing to answer the door or telephone, raising concerns that he was neglecting the man under his care. The man had several wounds that required daily attention, according to the criminal complaint.
While Anoka County’s adult protection office opened an investigation, the man was allowed to remain under Durocher’s care. An investigator twice attempted to contact the man at his home but left after no one answered the door or telephone.
On Aug. 9, the adult protection investigator entered the home along with a nurse. They found the alleged victim “lying completely naked” on a bare plastic hospital mattress. He was so thin and frail that his rib cage was visible, according to the report.
Still, the man remained in the home, where his condition continued to deteriorate, based on court records.
On Aug. 12, a nurse entered the home and heard the elderly man moaning in the back bedroom. His bed padding was full of fecal matter and drainage from his sores, the nurse told law enforcement.
“Upon entry, [the nurse] smelled a very foul smell and saw [the man’s] pillow case was full of blood and pus and bowel movements,” the criminal complaint said.
The man died two days later.