A caregiver was arrested and charged Friday with the neglect of an older family member whose condition was so poor that workers at Mount Nittany Medical Center thought she would either die or require amputation.
Loretta P. Stokes-McClusick, 53, of Snow Shoe Township, was charged for what Centre County First Assistant District Attorney Sean McGraw described as “barbaric treatment of another human being.”
The woman survived, but will never walk again, McGraw said. He characterized her injuries as “extremely severe.” A registered nurse at the hospital described the woman’s wounds as “horrific,” state police at Rockview wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.
She was 84 in May when she was admitted to the hospital.
“It’s nothing short of incredible that she survived this ordeal,” McGraw said. “I think it’s a tribute to both her resilience, as well as the excellent care that she received at Mount Nittany Medical Center.”
Some of the tunneling wounds, police wrote, exposed bone. Her core body temperature was 91 degrees; nurses placed her in a garment typically used on patients being treated for hypothermia.
One nurse said the woman’s blood pressure was the lowest she had ever seen, police wrote. Her weight was substantially diminished and maggots were on her body, police wrote.
Stokes-McClusick was responsible for the woman’s care, police wrote. Investigators described the home’s living conditions as deplorable, cluttered with garbage and urine. There were few medical supplies and little food, police wrote.
Stokes-McClusick was charged with one felony count of neglect of a care-dependent person.
“I can neither recall prosecution of a charge like this nor can I recall seeing a human being in such dire condition as a result of the actions of another person,” McGraw said.
The charge may not be the only one Stokes-McClusick faces.
There is an ongoing investigation into the potential financial exploitation of the woman. Stokes-McClusick — who has no employment history — “lived off” the woman, McGraw said.
She did not have a defense lawyer represent her during her preliminary arraignment. The Centre County Public Defender’s Office said it wasn’t immediately representing her.
District Judge Allen Sinclair set bail at $100,000. “Wow,” Stokes-McClusick said. Added Sinclair in response: “I said the same thing when I read the charges.”
She did not post bail and is detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.