Nurse charged with murdering eight in Canadian old-age homes

October 25, 2016 11:09 AM EDT

The Caressant Care Woodstock Long Term Care Home, where police accuse nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer of killing seven elderly patients, is seen in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Power

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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian nurse was charged on Tuesday with using drugs to murder eight elderly patients in long-term care facilities in an alleged killing spree that ran for seven years.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, is accused of killing five women and three men in the Ontario towns of Woodstock and London between 2007 and 2014. The dead ranged in age from 75 to 96.

"The victims were administered a drug," Woodstock Police Chief William Renton told a televised news conference, declining to give further details. Wettlaufer appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody.

The criminal case is the largest in Ontario since 2006, when five men were charged with murdering eight biker gang members. They were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Renton said officers began probing the deaths in September after receiving a tip.

"We are confident at this time that all of the victims have been identified," he said.

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons said it was shocked by the tragic nature of the alleged crime. Mass killings are uncommon in Canada.

"For nurses and staff to be part of a violence problem, we think this is rare... it is extraordinary, and thankfully so," spokesman Anthony Quinn said from Toronto.

In 1997 a Canadian doctor was charged with murdering a terminally ill cancer patient. A judge later threw out the case.

Seven of the dead lived in a Woodstock facility run by Caressant Care. The firm said Wettlaufer had left her job in 2014.

Doris Grinspun, head of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, said she was devastated.

"An event like this is most, most, most unusual, the first actually in all my 20 years at the association... these things are horrifying to all of us. They are the exception, the very rare exception," she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

People residing in the same apartment building as Wettlaufer described her as a pleasant person who lived alone with her dog.

"We would chat and have laughs. She seemed like an everyday, normal kind of person," Derek Gilbert told CBC.

A LinkedIn profile in the name of Elizabeth Wettlaufer said she was a nurse who worked at the Woodstock home from June 2007 to March 2014. "Administering medications" was listed as one of her responsibilities.

In March, Italian police arrested a 55-year-old nurse on suspicion of murdering 13 elderly patients in the intensive care ward where she had worked for decades.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by David Gregorio and Dan Grebler)

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Right to Die?
Rudy Haugeneder on 2016-10-25 14:07:52
Mark as Spam | Reply to this comment

Self-appointed killer or honoring personal requests? The trial will hopefully sort this out and also open discussion about how to die.
Meanwhile, the federal assisted suicide option must include the rapidly increasing number of people suffering from dementia, people who would choose this avenue before or in the early stages of the dread condition that is always terminal anyway.
You ought to see what doctors do to dementia patients -- load them with a cocktail of zombie drugs and pat themselves on the back because they have done exactly what the medical system demands, which is to turn dementia patients into the living dead; corpses that breath but little more. Damn the system which not only needs to be totally overhauled but forced into new non-drug research that might lead to a successful way to rewire the brain into a well thinking organ that, perhaps, is better than the average brain that has not been helped. But this won't happen because the mental health profession, especially dealing with diseases like dementia which are hitting people at young and younger ages, places its self-interest ahead of those of the patients it is supposed to help. Furthermore:
Pierre Trudeau's Dementia Led Him To Turn Down Cancer Treatment
The Huffington Post Canada
Posted: 03/06/2013

Pierre Trudeau chose not to be treated for metastasized prostate cancer after he was diagnosed with dementia, a new Huffington Post Canada ebook reveals. The cancer could have been treated, but the former prime minister wanted the disease to claim him before he lost his mind.
The previously unknown information about Trudeau's last months was published for the first time this week in Contender: The Justin Trudeau Story, a new ebook by HuffPost Canada's Althia Raj (download it for free here.)
According to the New York Times, Trudeau was suffering from Parkinson's Disease, which often leads to dementia. He died on Sept. 28, 2000.
After deciding to leave the cancer untreated, Pierre and his boys, Alexandre (Sacha) and Justin, planned the last six months of the former prime minister’s life, said Raj, who conducted extensive interviews for the book with Trudeau family and friends.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he does not dispute the account,
"The characterization in the book is certainly not something that I would say is false,'' Trudeau said. "It's not anything that my father said explicitly to me. He may have said it to some other people.''
"But for me, it was fairly clear that he was very much at peace with the end of his life approaching and certainly wasn't interested in losing his quality of life, physically and mentally, and prolonging the process
"He remained extremely lucid right up until the very end.''

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