WARNING: The following article contains graphic descriptions of physical injuries and neglect. Reader discretion is advised.
CARBONDALE TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Pennsylvania State Police say a 53-year-old man left dependent on his wife was covered in cat litter instead of being properly cared for.
Police say David Maijala was brought to the Geisinger CMC Hospital with broken bones and covered in his own feces, urine and kitty litter in September. He also had a large, rotting sore on his back that a nurse described as so deep it almost left his spine visible.
Maijala arrived at the hospital with a letter from his wife, 60-year-old Catherine Maijala, relating that he was struck by an ATV a few weeks before on August 20 and neither of them sought medical treatment for his injuries.
Troopers say the man was brought in after paramedics responded to a Carbondale Township home for a patient with hip pain. They say they found the home “dilapidated and in disarray.” Human waste and garbage were found by officials inside the home, and the victim was discovered on the floor covered in litter and a sheet.
Catherine Maijala told paramedics that she put the kitty litter around him because he was defecating on himself and it had become impossible to care for him, and he was “ruining the house.”
Medical staff at the hospital told police the victim was suffering from urine scalds and bedsores in addition to his broken bones. The ER doctor said the wound on his back had developed over several weeks.
Medical personnel say Maijala was also dehydrated and malnourished, which could have left the man easily immunocompromised. The doctor also related that his back wounds alone could have killed him.
Troopers say the victim had previously suffered a stroke and was dependent on his wife for care, transportation and management of his finances.
After being struck by the ATV, police say he made it home and laid on a couch. Over the course of the weeks leading up to him being brought to the ER, he eventually had fallen onto the floor where he remained until paramedics took him from the home.
Police say Catherine Maijala began putting cat litter on him for the last three days he was at the home. The victim told police he couldn’t call for help because he couldn’t move and his cellphone was out of service.
Police say Catherine brought her husband food, water, and pain relievers, but never called 911 because the victim was “a hard person to deal with.”
It was also learned that Adult Protective Services tried to help her and the victim in the past but were refused by her.
Catherine Maijala is facing several charges including felony neglect of a care-dependent person.
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