Convicted killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer has certification revoked by regulator
Killer found guilty of professional misconduct by nurses’ college
— 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.