Con­victed killer El­iz­a­beth Wet­t­laufer has cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­voked by reg­u­la­tor

Killer found guilty of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct by nurses’ col­lege

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - LIAM CASEY TORONTO

— An On­tario nurse who killed eight se­niors in her care has been found guilty of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct and had her cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­voked by the prov­ince’s nurs­ing reg­u­la­tor.

“This is the most egre­gious and dis­grace­ful con­duct this panel has ever con­sid­ered,” said Grace Fox, the chair of the five-per­son dis­ci­plinary panel at the Col­lege of Nurses of On­tario that heard El­iz­a­beth Wet­t­laufer’s case.

In June, Wet­t­laufer pleaded guilty to the first-de­gree mur­der of eight se­niors, at­tempted mur­der of four oth­ers and ag­gra­vated as­sault of two more peo­ple, all by way of in­sulin over­doses, be­tween 2007 and 2016.

She con­fessed to the mur­ders while at a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in Toronto in the fall be­fore de­tail­ing the crimes to po­lice in Wood­stock, Ont.

The dis­ci­plinary panel deemed Wet­t­laufer’s con­duct un­pro­fes­sional, dis­hon­ourable and dis­grace­ful.

“The con­duct was heinous and crim­i­nal and brings shame on the pro­fes­sion,” said Me­gan Shortreed, the col­lege’s coun­sel who pre­sented the case.

The col­lege of nurses knew Wet­t­laufer was fired from the Ca­res­sant Care nurs­ing home in Wood­stock, Ont., for a med­i­ca­tion er­ror in 2014, but she con­tin­ued to work — and harmed pa­tients — un­til she re­signed as a nurse in Septem­ber 2016.

The panel heard Wet­t­laufer had given one pa­tient in­sulin that be­longed to an­other pa­tient and was fired for do­ing so. Ca­res­sant Care told the col­lege about the fir­ing, but the col­lege de­cided not to con­duct a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The panel also heard about an in­ci­dent in 1995 when Wet­t­laufer was found “dazed and dis­ori­ented at work” and re­quired hos­pi­tal­iza­tion af­ter il­lic­itly tak­ing lo­razepam, a drug used to treat anx­i­ety and sleep­ing dis­or­ders.

The col­lege in­ves­ti­gated and found that Wet­t­laufer had not tried to harm pa­tients, but was rec­om­mended for treat­ment and to prac­tise nurs­ing with con­di­tions that in­cluded avoid­ing drugs and al­co­hol for one year. She com­pleted that term with­out in­ci­dent and the con­di­tions were lifted a year later.

Wet­t­laufer was not present at the hear­ing in Toronto. She is serv­ing a sen­tence of life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years.

Shortreed pre­sented an agreed state­ment of facts from Wet­t­laufer’s guilty plea and her confession to po­lice in the crim­i­nal case as the ba­sis for the col­lege’s find­ings.

Shortreed noted that Wet­t­laufer’s psy­chi­a­trist in­formed the col­lege on Sept. 29, 2016, af­ter she con­fessed to the killings at a Toronto men­tal health fa­cil­ity.

The col­lege started an in­ves­ti­ga­tion im­me­di­ately, Shortreed said, but was told to back off by the Crown at­tor­ney to al­low po­lice to pro­ceed with their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The dis­ci­plinary panel heard Tues­day that Wet­t­laufer emailed and called the col­lege on Sept. 30, say­ing she was no longer fit to prac­tise as a nurse and wished to re­sign.

DAVE CHIDLEY, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

El­iz­a­beth Wet­t­laufer

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