Testimony Brought Against Nursing Home Nurse Turned Serial Killer

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(Newswire.net — July 1, 2018) –On Tuesday June 26, 2018 the executive director of the last nursing home facility in which nurse turned convicted serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer worked, gave his testimony in hearings for the public inquiry into long-term care.

Wettlaufer began killing her patients back in 2007 and continued until 2016. For more than a decade, her employers, the police and Ontario’s licensing body for nurses were completely in the dark until she finally confessed to her crimes. She was sentenced to prison for eight counts of first degree murder, four counts of attempted murder, and two counts of aggravated assault.

While the Wettlaufer case is extreme in that it shows malicious intent to kill, it nevertheless brings to light that while nursing homes are supposed to be facilities where elderly and disabled people can be safe and well cared for, the opposite is often true. Results from a Congressional inquiry into the percentage rates of people on Medicare who have suffered from nursing home medical care showed that over twenty percent of residents experienced significant harm, while more than ten percent experienced temporary harm during the duration of their stays.

Residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable and often isolated, leading to them easily becoming victims of neglect or abuse. Warning signs that may indicate mistreatment include bruising or fractures, scratches or avoidance of physical contact may be symptoms of physical abuse. Bed sores or lack of medical attention may indicate medical neglect, while signs of personal hygiene neglect may encompass an uncared for appearance or soiled clothing. Social, psychological or emotional neglect are also forms of mistreatment and warning signs may include listlessness, depression, non-responsive behavior or anxiousness.  

Yet, there are federal and state laws designed to keep nursing homes and their residents safe, according to personal injury attorneys specializing in nursing home abuse and neglect, according to a blog post from Strom & Associates.

 “All alleged cases of abuse and resident accidents, injuries or deaths are promptly investigated and facilities that fail to meet state and federal regulations for medical care are issued violations and are subject to steep fines and other enforcement actions,” they explain. Furthermore, a nursing home that repeatedly fails to comply will be shut down.

In an effort to further improve care to patients and to potentially create more effective legislation, the Public Inquiry was established on Aug. 1, 2017 after Wettlaufer was sentenced. Hearings will continue until September and the commission is set to make recommendations on July 21, 2019.