Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who was jailed for life for murdering eight patients at the care home where worked, has had her nursing registration revoked after a disciplinary hearing.
In June, Ms Wettlaufer was found guilty of eight counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault of her patients, and was sentenced to life in prison.
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Those killed by her were five women and three men who were residents at Caressant Care in Woodstock and Meadow Park in London, Ontario. The victims, aged between 75 and 96, and were killed between 2007 and 2014 by insulin injection.
The College of Nurses of Ontario announced on Tuesday that a discipline panel had found “Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer’s unprecedented actions to be disgraceful and dishonourable and revoked her nursing registration”.
The college’s five-person committee hearing was delayed until the end of the court case against the 50-year-old, who admitted to the killings.
In delivering the license revocation, the CNO’s panel chair Grace Fox described the case as “the most egregious and disgraceful conduct this panel has ever considered”.
“Elizabeth Wettlaufer breached that in the worst possible way”
The public places enormous trust in nurses, she said, adding: “Elizabeth Wettlaufer breached that in the worst possible way.”
CNO prosecutor Meagan Shortreed told the panel that “the families and the loved ones of the victims have been devastated”.
She also highlighted some of the victim impact statements provided by family members at the related criminal proceedings.
Ms Wettlaufer chose not to participate at the hearing. As a result, the case against her was presented via documents – most prominently the admissions she made in the earlier criminal proceedings.
The CNO also welcomed the announcement last month of a public inquiry by the Ontario state government into the safety and security of care home residents, in the wake of the case.
“We owe it to Ontarians to clearly understand how this happened”
College of Nurses of Ontario
In a statement it also said it welcomed an “independent public inquiry into the circumstances of the Wettlaufer case”, and that it supported the “opportunity to find ways to prevent this from happening again”.
“We owe it to Ontarians to clearly understand how this happened and what systemic improvements can be made so that all of us working within the health care system can work together as effectively as possible to protect and care for our loved ones,” it added.
The Ontario government announced the public inquiry in a statement issued on 26 June by attorney general Yasir Naqvi and minister of health and long-term care Eric Hoskins.
They said: “We want to express our deepest condolences to the victims, their families and the communities in Woodstock and London and the surrounding areas.
“What happened was a tragedy. That’s why we are establishing an independent public inquiry to look into the circumstances in this case,” they said in the statement.
“It is our hope that through the inquiry process, we will get the answers we need”
They noted that the “next step” was to formally establish the inquiry, set out its scope and appoint a commissioner to lead it.
“The government is actively engaged in finalising these details and, once approved, will make them available to the public,” said the statement.
“We want to assure the public that Ontario’s 78,000 long-term care residents are safe in their homes,” it said. “Our oversight system in long-term care specifically focuses on the safety and security of our residents and we will continue to work to ensure all of our homes are meeting the highest standards.
“It is our hope that through the inquiry process, we will get the answers we need to help ensure that a tragedy such as this does not happen again,” it added.