Sunday, October 30, 2016

The elderly patients, who ranged in age from 75 to 96, were killed after being administered a drug, police confirmed.

The nurse who has been charged with murdering residents appears to have used medication for this purpose. This seems rather odd to me. Why would the facility not have detected the use of drugs?

Woodstock nurse accused of murdering 8 patients at long-term care homes

Community reacts after nurse charged with murders

Codi Wilson,
Published Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5:23AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5:45PM EDT
A 49-year-old nurse has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of eight elderly residents of long-term care facilities in Woodstock and London.
Speaking a news conference on Tuesday morning, Woodstock Police Chief Bill Renton told reporters that the investigation into the murders began on Sept. 29, 2016 after officers received information about a nurse’s possible involvement in the deaths of several patients at care homes in the area.
“As you can imagine this disclosure caused us to immediately assess the information and muster the necessary resources to ensure a thorough investigation of the facts,” Renton said.



Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer
Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer is pictured in this undated photo. (Facebook)
Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer
Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer is pictured in this undated photo. (Facebook)
OPP newser
Ontario Provincial Police hold a news conference in Woodstock, Ontario Tuesday October 24, 2016.
The multi-jurisdictional case, which included investigators with the London Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police, ultimately led to the arrest of former Woodstock nurse Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer on Monday night.
According to investigators, the deaths occurred over a seven-year period between August 2007 and August 2014.
The elderly patients, who ranged in age from 75 to 96, were killed after being administered a drug, police confirmed.
“We are not in a position at this time to comment further on the specifics of the drug as it forms part of the evidence that is before the courts,” OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax told reporters at Tuesday’s news conference.
Investigators would not comment on a possible motive.
Seven victims were residents at the Caressant Care centre in Woodstock and one victim was a patient at the Meadow Park long-term care facility in London.
The patients have been identified as James Silcox, 84, Maurice Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90, Maureen Pickering, 79 and Arpad Horvath, 75.
In a statement, the family of one of the victims, James Silcox, said their loved one was a “compassionate and loving human being” who left behind six children, 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
“We ask that all family members be permitted the time to grief once again in private,” the statement said.
In a written statement sent to CP24, a spokesperson for Caressant Care said staff at the facility are "cooperating fully" with the police investigation.
According to the statement, Wettlaufer left the long-term care home two and a half years ago.
"We remain in regular contact with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Our highest priority is to continue to provide for the physical, social and spiritual needs of our residents, and that remains our focus. We deeply regret the additional grief and stress this is imposing on the families involved," Lee Griffi, a communications manager for the facility, said in the statement.
"We are determined to avoid compromising the police investigation in any way and are therefore unable to provide any additional comment at this time."
According to a registry online, Wettlaufer resigned from the College of Nurses on Sept. 30, 2016.
Police said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing.
“I am not going to speculate whether there will be any additional charges. What I can tell you is that we are confident at this time that all the victims have been identified and their families have been notified,” Renton said.
Renton offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
“On behalf of every police agency represented here today, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have suffered this tragic loss,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for a community to have to endure these types of tragic incidents but the community is strong and the community will rally.”
The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), an organization that advocates on behalf of adults aged 50 and over, said the alleged homicides highlight an “ongoing societal issue of abuse of elderly citizens” but should not be considered a reflection of all the nursing profession.
“CARP recognizes the tremendous care that thousands of nurses and personal support workers provide to seniors living in long term care facilities across Canada,” Anthony Quinn, the director of public affairs at CARP, said in a statement. “This tragic crime is in no way reflective on those who endeavor to provide comfort and dignity to seniors in their final days."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Woodstock police at 519-537-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Wettlaufer appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock on Tuesday morning and has been remanded into custody.

CARP presents its views on this case and tells us that we don't think all nurses are mass murderers. The folks at CARP should focus on the issue which was that helpless citizens who had no way to protect themselves were killed with use of a drug which was not detected by the facility or by the government of Ontario. CARP fails to point out that the nursing staff at this facility somehow failed to detect the improper use of a drug and also that the government of Ontario somehow failed to detect improper drug use in any audits it conducted of this facility. Based on our family's experience, the failure of audits is unsurprising. In Alberta government has to be told for years by families of problems at facilities before they do their jobs and follow up with audits, mentoring and then compliance. Of course this is because government, AHS, Covenant Health and continuing care folks are all partners but no one is partners with the citizens who are abused and dying. Such a nice set up.

And now CARP joins these partners to decry the abuse and deaths of innocent seniors and handicapped folks in care but doesn't cut its bridges by slamming the entire system. Nope. That's not the CARP way. Can't burn your bridges to get change. Gotta work with the system for decades and decades to do no change but at least everyone is working together right?
The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), an organization that advocates on behalf of adults aged 50 and over, said the alleged homicides highlight an “ongoing societal issue of abuse of elderly citizens” but should not be considered a reflection of all the nursing profession.


The only useful information in this first article is that drugs were used to prematurely terminate residents. This raises important questions. Normally when drugs are used there are records kept and medications in nursing homes must be reconciled. Of course if the government of Ontario is like the government of Alberta and no one bothered to audit the facility their medications could have been in a mess as was the case of my handicapped sister.  When facilities accept this sort of  poor management of medications and government doesn't get the facilities to shape up then you have problems developing as in this case where a nurse may taken advantage of the poor record keeping to do her own thing.
In my handicapped sister’s case, the facility audit indicated problems with the medications and on at least one occasion I was told that there were medication shortfalls for my sister. Of course medical error will always happen but what should not be happening is what happened in this case and what happened in my sister’s case which was a failure of government oversight despite the complaints of families.  
It was only after a whole pile of families complained that audits got done. We wonder what the heck was happening before the families complained in my handicapped sister's case. We got audits but I ask you what was done in response to family complaints? I have yet to find out what the results of the AHS respiratory audit were. Was there even a respiratory audit done by AHS? Why haven’t we been given the results and the follow up actions taken? Is the audit top secret? Or is it top secret only because AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Health all have egg on their faces?

In this case, the only reason this nurse was detected in her misuse of drugs was apparently through an external tip off to police. Wow. I guess we have regulations, we have partners but we have no oversight, no interest and no autopsies. But in this case, if the drug was insulin --apparently autopsies would not have helped.

CAMH tipped off police about eight nursing home deaths: source

POSTED OCT 26, 2016 1:53 PM EDT
TORONTO – The Canadian Press has learned that the investigation into the alleged murders of eight long-term care home residents was launched after police received a tip from a psychiatric hospital in Toronto.
A police source familiar with the investigation says officials from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health alerted the Toronto police that Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a nurse from Woodstock, Ont., had provided information to hospital staff that caused them “concern.”
Wettlaufer, 49, was charged Tuesday with eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of elderly residents at two nursing homes in Woodstock, Ont., and London, Ont.
Since the alleged crimes occurred outside of Toronto police’s jurisdiction, the source says officers informed three other police forces, including the Ontario Provincial Police.
Lawyers for Wettlaufer could not immediately be reached for comment.
CAMH said they did not disclose information about their clients due to patient confidentiality.

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Just a few weeks ago, Wettlaufer gave away her beloved dog, Nashville, a spry Jack Russell terrier.
Her friends thought the move odd, but they now wonder if the 49-year-old nurse knew what was coming.
On Tuesday, Wettlaufer was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of seniors in her care — seven of them at a nursing home just a 15-minute walk from her apartment in Woodstock, Ont.
As news broke about her charges, her friends gathered outside the apartment building, trying to piece it all together.
“She was a happy-go-lucky lady,” said Nancy Gilbert, who lived downstairs from Wettlaufer’s fifth-floor apartment.
“It’s hard to believe, really, really hard to believe.”
Wettlaufer would often join their tight little group as they sat on the grass outside the apartment when the weather was nice, chatting the night away, Gilbert said.
She and Wettlaufer had dinner at Kelsey’s just a few weeks ago.
During that meal, Wettlaufer told her she had just gotten out of rehab at a facility in Toronto — it was the second such time, Gilbert said.
A Facebook page for a Bethe Wettlaufer, whose photo, education and employment records match that of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, makes reference to what appears to be a struggle with substance abuse.
“My own voice called to me in the darkness. Others hands lifted me when I chose the light. One year ago today I woke up not dead. 365 days clean and sober,” says a post from September 2015.
Amid police concerns that she would commit a “serious personal injury,” Wettlaufer was made subject of a peace bond earlier this month with 10 conditions, including that she live with her parents in Woodstock, observe a night-time curfew, and refrain from acting as a caregiver to anyone.
In addition, she was banned from possessing insulin or any other medication unless it was for her own use.
CityNews spoke with Dr. Vincent Marks, a UK-based expert in insulin use in murders who said an insulin overdoes will cause a person to slip into unconsciousness and never regain consciousness.
“They lose consciousness. They lie there in coma,” he said. “Eventually it destroys the brain. But it doesn’t kill you very rapidly.”
Dr. Marks said a post-mortem is almost impossible to detect insulin poisoning, except by collecting blood pretty soon after the patient has died and measuring the insulin in their blood.
“If you don’t do that there’s no way of determining insulin poisoning,” he said.
She was also barred by the court order from visiting any long-term care facility, nursing or retirement home, or hospital unless she needed medical treatment.
Wettlaufer was further required to “continue any treatment for mental health,” and stay away from alcohol.
Terms of 810.2 Elizabeth Wettlaufer Peace Bond Province of Ontario/Woodstock Police Service
Charlene Puffer said she lived down the hall from Wettlaufer’s apartment and described her neighbour as a decent person.
She said Wettlaufer was quiet and loved her pets, which also included two cats. Gilbert said Wettlaufer lived alone and court records indicate she filed for divorce in 2008.
Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995 but resigned Sept. 30 of this year and is no longer a registered nurse.
While police refused to provide details of their investigation, court documents show Wettlaufer had been on their radar for some time.
Her friends said they hadn’t seen the nurse much in recent weeks as she told them she was living with parents.
Gilbert said Wettlaufer had told her about a developmentally challenged child she had been helping take care of, which only furthered the friend’s disbelief at the charges.
Before she worked at Caressant Care, Wettlaufer worked at Christian Horizons, a faith-based charitable organization which works with people with developmental disabilities.
The organization said Wettlaufer left in June 2007 and noted that the allegations she now faces are not connected to her employment with Christian Horizons.
“We are shocked and saddened by these tragic deaths, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the Woodstock community,” the organization’s CEO, Janet Noel-Annable, said in a statement.
Wettlaufer appeared in court Tuesday morning and was remanded into custody until her next court hearing on Nov. 2. A lawyer for Wettlaufer could not immediately be reached.

Government simply isn't doing the work of auditing these places and making the results public as they should be doing. In my sister’s case, we yapped endlessly about the problems and the government had other complaints from other families. And yet, all the complaints and audits did exactly what? We don’t know the full story.  Only government knows.

As in the case of the government of Alberta, the government of Ontario is able to withhold any information by citing the police investigation etc. Really? Why can’t the government of Ontario speak about its role in the case? Were audits of this facility done in a timely fashion? And if the audits were done, what were the results? If the audits found no problems then how is it possible that these residents died without internal or external safeguards in place to detect such non-compliances?  Who is detecting these problems? I guess it will be the families.

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