Nursing home releases statement describing actions after Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s termination

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The nursing home where Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered seven patients released a statement Wednesday outlining the home’s actions following the ex-nurse’s 2014 termination.

Caressant Care Woodstock said it sent a 20-page report outlining 10 workplace violations — three of which included suspensions — in two and a half years to the Ontario College on Nurses on April 17, 2014 after it fired her two weeks earlier for making a medication “error” that put a patient at risk.

A lawyer for the college, Mark Sandler said after Tuesday’s misconduct hearing that the director of nursing at Caressant told college staff in an interview following her termination, that there were no underlying concerns about Wettlaufer.

But in statement on Wednesday, Caressant said they had no record of staff making those comments.

“Caressant Care has no records indicating that its leadership or staff believed or said this in response to any inquiry following the termination,” the statement from Caressant said.

In a statement Wednesday, Sandler, said the regulatory body has documentation of its conversation with Caressant’s director of nursing.

The alleged statements by the director of nursing at the time were the regulatory body’s main rationale for not investigating Wettlaufer further in 2014, lawyers for the college said Tuesday.

During the hearing in which the college revoked Wettlaufer’s nursing licence the college did not disclose the 20-page report outlining Caressant’s concerns during the hearing.

Following Wettlaufer’s sentencing last month, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and provincial Health Minister Eric Hoskins released a statement saying they would establish an independent public inquiry to look into the circumstances of the case.

“In 2016, only after Ms Wettlaufer’s criminal activities were already known and two years after the termination, Caressant Care wrote to the college,” said Sandler’s statement. “The characterizations it made in that letter for the first time were different than in its earlier verbal and written reports to the college.”

The college has been criticized for not investigating Wettlaufer after Caressant reported her insulin error in May 2014. Wettlaufer murdered one victim and harmed two others after the firing.

Sandler said the college stands by the decision it made at the time.

“Caressant Care provided a notice of termination to the college in 2014 together with the errors it identified on Ms Wettlaufer’s part,” said Sandler. “None involved an allegation of deliberate abuse or deliberate over-administration of drugs.”

Caressant fired Wettlaufer on March 31, 2014 for giving one patient insulin meant for another. She had already killed seven of her eight murder victims.

In the statement, Caressant said it received notice in July 2014 that the college had received its report and didn’t hear from the regulatory body again until Wettlaufer was charged last fall.

In Tuesday’s hearing, the college also revealed it restricted Wettlaufer’s nursing licence after a 1995 incident where she was caught stealing medication, which left her intoxicated at work. The restrictions lasted a year and were posted publicly for six, the college said.

Wettlaufer is currently serving life in prison for the murder of eight patients, attempted murders of four others and aggravated assaults of two. She has no chance of parole for 25 years.