A former Ontario nurse accused of killing eight seniors had been suspended from a long-term care home several times for medication-related errors before she was fired for “failing to follow insulin protocol,” newly released court documents show.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer currently faces a total of 14 charges, including eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Police have alleged those crimes involved the use of certain drugs and took place over the last decade in three Ontario long-term care facilities where Wettlaufer worked as a registered nurse, and at a private home.
Heavily redacted documents released this week — which were filed by authorities in an application to obtain records — provide details on Wettlaufer’s employment at some of those facilities.
They show that the 49-year-old was fired from the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, Ont., in 2014 after an alleged incident in which she incorrectly and overly medicated a resident, who “experienced distress” as a result.
In a letter of termination cited in the documents, the nursing home said the alleged incident was part of a “pattern of behaviours that are placing residents at risk.”
The letter noted Wettlaufer had “an extensive disciplinary record for medication-related errors” and had received several warnings as well as one-, three- and five-day suspensions.
The home’s director of nursing also told police Wettlaufer was dismissed for how she handled insulin, the documents show.
Meanwhile, a doctor consulted by investigators told them insulin levels would never be checked at the time of a person’s death and would be difficult to determine during an autopsy, the documents said.
Wettlaufer was also “asked not to return” to the Telfer Place retirement home in Paris, Ont., — where she had also worked — because of her “behaviour towards other staff members,” the documents said.
In the documents, investigators further say Wettlaufer had “direct care” of certain alleged victims at the Caressant Care home and at the Meadow Park home in London, Ont., at or just before the time of their deaths.
The police investigation into Wettlaufer began last September after authorities became aware of information she had given to a psychiatric hospital in Toronto that caused them concern, a police source has told The Canadian Press.
In October, Wettlaufer was charged in the deaths of eight residents at nursing homes in Woodstock and London. In those cases, police alleged Wettlaufer used drugs to kill the seniors while she worked at the facilities between 2007 and 2014.
In January, Wettlaufer faced six additional charges related to seniors in her care. Court documents allege Wettlaufer injected those six alleged victims with insulin.
Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995 but resigned Sept. 30, 2016, and is no longer a registered nurse.
The allegations against Wettlaufer have not been proven in court. Her lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Her next court date is April 7.
Liam Casey and Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press