One of four caretakers whose alleged neglect led to the death of a Palm Springs retirement home resident had been slated to be arraigned Monday on felony elder abuse charges, but will instead appear along with his co-defendants on July 26.
Andronico Malagar Pelen, 29, of Thousand Palms, is accused along with three other caretakers in the Nov. 25, 2015, death of 78-year-old Frank Jurkovich, who lived at the Palm Springs Retirement Home for about six months.
Pelen is charged along with Edna Malagar Pelen, 61, of Thousand Palms, Josie Rose Dolajan Ramos, 25, of Palm Springs, and Librada Dondonayos Paje, 70, of Cathedral City. The defendants were arrested last month at the retirement facility at 627 Highland Drive, but were released shortly afterward and remain free on $250,000 bail.
Jurkovich was hospitalized two days prior to his death, when a paramedic went to the retirement home to transport him for a routine medical appointment and found him “on a camping style mattress on the floor of his room in poor condition,” according to an arrest warrant declaration prepared by Special Agent Daniel Foster of the Department of Justice. The paramedic reported that Jurkovich was disoriented and malnourished, with “blood, vomit and fecal matter” around his mouth.
Jurkovich died at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs two days later, with one of the causes of death identified as sepsis, likely caused by “multiple pressure ulcers,” according to the hospital. A social worker with Desert Regional stated that Jurkovich’s condition indicated that the retirement home staff had not moved him for a prolonged period of time, according to the declaration.
While the county coroner’s office listed “hypertensive cardiovascular disease” as the cause of death, four doctors and nurses at Desert Regional said sepsis was a contributing factor and that the complication was likely caused by the multiple ulcers, which the retirement home caretakers were not qualified to treat, according to Foster’s declaration.
The agent alleged that the caretakers “failed to provide adequate care to Jurkovich and housed him in conditions which caused Jurkovich to develop severe pressure ulcers and infections.” He also accuses the caretakers of failing to take note of Jurkovich’s deteriorating physical condition and failing to move him to a hospital or other more qualified medical facility.