A 49-year-old nursing home worker in Ontario, Canada is being charged with eight counts of first-degree murder which happened over several years.
Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer is being accused of giving seven of her eight elderly patients a fatal dose of a drug and killing them. Her patients were between 75 and 96 years old, and the victims were five women and three men- all who were residents of Caressant Care in Woodstock and Meadow Park in London, Ontario. “The victims were administered a drug… there are obviously a number of drugs that are stored and are available in long-term care facilities,” Woodstock Police Chief William Renton said at a news conference.
Caressant Care spokesman Lee Griffi says Wettlaufer was a registered nurse and left their employment about two and a half years ago. On the Ontario College of Nurse’s website, her profile states that she became a registered nurse in June 1995 and resigned on September 30 of this year. The profile also lists Parker as her former surname and says she is now facing murder charges and is in custody.
While details on her motives weren’t revealed, police listed the names of all 8 of the victims. “We deeply regret the additional grief and stress this is imposing on the families involved,” spokesman Griffi said.
The families of the eight victims are furious upon hearing this news, and Tony Cuzzocrea, a friend of London resident Arpad Horvath told CTV News, “It just saddens the whole community. We just can’t believe it.”
He knew that Arpad was admitted to the Meadow Park nursing home after suffering a massive stroke, but his death came about two years later and surprised his friends. “We saw that his health was going downhill, but it was shocking to hear that it was that quick,” Cuzzocrea said. “Now, I guess, it becomes obvious the reason why he died. It wasn’t due to his natural health.”
Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario says that she’s absolutely shocked and horrified by what has happened. In an interview with CTV News, Grinspun says, “Please be absolutely assured that every single registered nurse, every single nurse practitioner, every single personal support worker, and anybody that works in nursing homes, goes there every single day with the intent to do not only safe care, but quality care.”
She added that, until more details about the case are revealed, “it’s difficult for us to explain how something like this could happen.” The investigation is ongoing.
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