A lawyer for Ontario’s nursing regulator says the case against a former nurse who killed eight seniors in her care is unprecedented and the professional body is seeking to revoke her certification.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who pleaded guilty to her crimes last month, is not present at the hearing taking place today before a disciplinary panel at the College of Nurses of Ontario.
The regulatory body alleges Wettlaufer committed professional misconduct when she overdosed 14 patients with the intent to harm or kill them between 2007 and 2016.
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.
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 college knew Wettlaufer was fired from the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock for a medication error in 2014, but she continued to work — and harmed patients — until she resigned as a nurse in September 2016.
“This is an unprecedented case that involves a nurse who intentionally killed her patients,” said Megan Shortreed, the college’s counsel. “The evidence will be straightforward, overwhelming and obvious to find guilt of professional misconduct and to revoke her certification.”
Wettlaufer is currently serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years after she pleaded guilty to the 14 crimes in early June.
The college is going through Wettlaufer’s guilty plea in the criminal case as the basis of their findings.
After Wettlaufer confessed the killings at the Toronto psychiatric hospital, Shortreed noted that her psychiatrist informed the college on Sept. 29, 2016.
Wettlaufer resigned as a nurse the following day.
“That was the first notice the college had of her criminal activity,” Shortreed said.
The college started an investigation immediately, she said, but was told to back off by the Crown attorney to allow police to proceed with their own investigation.
A college spokeswoman has said the panel hearing Wettlaufer’s case could make its decision by the end of the day.