“I’ve given quite a lot of thought to adjustments that might have been made the place I might not have been ready to do that.”
That is what Elizabeth Wettlaufer instructed three legal professionals collaborating within the Lengthy-Time period Care Properties Public Inquiry. The attorneys spoke with the serial killer nurse previous to the beginning of the inquiry, which started in June on the Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas, Ont., and has continued all through the summer season.
The inquiry was known as after Wettlaufer was convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder, 4 counts of tried murder and two counts of aggravated assault; offences she dedicated whereas working as a registered nurse in long-term care houses in Ontario. She is now serving eight concurrent life sentences on the Grand Valley Institute for Ladies in Kitchener, Ont.
Within the lead-up to the inquiry, legal professionals went to the jail on Feb. 14, 2018. For 2 hours, they spoke with Wettlaufer, who selected to not have a lawyer current. One of many questions she was requested was what she thinks might have stopped, or lowered, her killing spree?
This is a few of what she instructed them, based mostly on a transcript of the assembly entered into proof on the inquiry:
1. Controls on insulin
Wettlaufer killed sufferers in her care by injecting them with huge quantities of insulin. She selected insulin as a result of it wasn’t tracked the identical approach narcotics are tracked, she instructed the legal professionals.
“It wasn’t counted and I knew that was one thing that might kill individuals. The dearth of following up on insulin is what made it obtainable to me,” she mentioned.
Insulin is run utilizing pen-like gadgets into which a nurse places a cartridge crammed with insulin. To ship a selected dosage, a nurse “dials up” the quantity of insulin after which injects a affected person. Generally, one other nurse needed to test that the “dialed up” dosage matched the dosage prescribed to a resident.
If there was a approach that the insulin was counted I might not have been in a position to do what I did with out getting caught.– Elizabeth Wettlaufer
“There’s 120 items [of insulin] per cartridge, but when I dialled up 15, I might go away the nurses station and take out the insulin pen and dial up one other 50,” Wettlaufer mentioned. “There isn’t any management over that.”
Containers of cartridges are labelled with affected person names, however not the cartridges themselves. Wettlaufer mentioned there was at all times at the very least one pen that wasn’t getting used that she might use to overdose her victims. She mentioned she typically instructed sufferers she was giving them nutritional vitamins.
Pharmacies by no means questioned why extra insulin was getting used than was being prescribed — one thing that will have instantly raised pink flags if she had used a managed substance like an opioid.
“There was by no means a time when it was questioned why we had been at instances going by extra insulin than others. Insulin will not be counted the identical approach narcotics are,” she mentioned.
Wettlaufer mentioned a stop-gap on the cartridges stopping nurses from delivering greater than the prescribed dose, or pens pre-loaded with solely the quantity of insulin wanted for a selected affected person would have prevented her from utilizing it to overdose individuals in her care.
“If there was a approach that the insulin was counted I might not have been in a position to do what I did with out getting caught,” she instructed the legal professionals.
Nurses from the Caressant Care house in Woodstock, Ont., the place Wettlaufer killed seven of her eight victims, testified on the inquiry that they now test when a nurse dials up insulin proper earlier than it’s administered, however that the apply is time-consuming.
2. Remedy room oversight
Insulin and different medication are stored in medicine rooms in long-term care services. On the houses the place she labored, Wettlaufer mentioned there was no method to see into the rooms to test if one thing nefarious was occurring.
“Even when there had been a window within the med room I might nonetheless have taken the insulin and gone some other place to dial up, as a result of it is simply pens that you simply choose up and put within the med cart and typically I would just stick it in my pocket.”
At Caressant Care, managers instructed workers that safety cameras had been going to be put in after opioids went lacking in 2013. However they had been by no means put in, the inquiry heard.
Wettlaufer known as the med room at Geraldton Normal Hospital, the place she labored as a scholar nurse earlier than stealing opioids and overdosing, “a nightmare.” On the time, the drug she stole, Ativan (Lorazepam), was not a managed substance.
3. Psychological well being check-ins
Wettlaufer had a historical past of psychological sickness and substance abuse, and was fired from her first nursing job at Geradlton Normal Hospital in 1996 after stealing Ativan and overdosing. It was not her solely suicide try.
“My head is a lot clearer. My feelings are a lot clearer. I have a lot extra regret for my crime now than I did after I was on Seroquel,” she mentioned.
She mentioned that she did not like her psychiatrist and he would not probe throughout their visits. He would ask how she was doing, and she or he would reply “high quality,” after which stroll out with a refill for her medicine.
Wettlaufer went from working in a gaggle house, the place there have been three staffers for 5 residents, to working alone as a nurse answerable for virtually 100 residents at evening and 32 throughout the day. She regularly labored double shifts which lasted from Three p.m. till 7 a.m. the following day.
“It was busy. Initially I stored up with it, nevertheless it was actually busy. I do not suppose I managed it effectively, however I managed it. I definitely did not get pleasure from it,” she mentioned.
“After I bought to Caressant Care, it bought to the purpose pretty rapidly that I used to be discovering it arduous to deal with things emotionally, with being [at work] and with all of the workload and having my companion residing with me and her two youngsters.”
To alleviate the strain, she mentioned she tried to kill two sufferers “simply to see what occurs.”
The inquiry has heard the long-term care sector is at all times short-staffed and registered nurses are sometimes requested to work lengthy time beyond regulation shifts.
4. An advocate for dementia sufferers
“Each affected person I ever picked had some dementia and that was a part of what turned my standards. If that they had dementia, they could not report or in the event that they reported, they would not have been believed,” Wettlaufer instructed the legal professionals.
“Anyone I ever did had dementia. That was a part of the not getting caught.”
“We had been instructed, ‘No, in the event that they’re in a nursing house they want care, and their dying is not sudden,'” Wettlaufer mentioned.
5. No motion on confessions
After she killed her first two victims in 2007, Wettlaufer instructed her girlfriend about what she’d achieved.
“She did not do or say something about it. She simply mentioned, ‘Effectively, you want to cease doing that. Do not do it anymore since you do not need to get caught.’ However I do not know if she truly believed me,” Wettlaufer instructed the legal professionals.
She confessed once more in 2011 to an adolescent who labored shifts at Caressant Care.
In 2014, she confessed to her pastor and his spouse, then later that yr she instructed an ex-boyfriend.
“He mentioned, ‘Why do not you modify your job in order that you do not have the chance. Why do not you cease being a nurse, come dwell with me, I will go away my spouse and take care of you,'” Wettlaufer mentioned.
She instructed a lawyer in 2014, after a stint in a therapy facility after stealing hydromorphone from the Meadow Park house in London, Ont., and overdosing, and she or he instructed her Narcotics Nameless sponsor that very same yr.
“She simply sort of laughed about it, so I do not suppose she believed me,” Wettlaufer mentioned.
After checking herself in to the Centre for Habit and Psychological Well being in Toronto in 2006, she instructed somebody who she had labored with at Caressant Care.
“She mentioned, ‘You higher go and switch your self in. If I hear that you have not, I’ll name the police.'”
Wettlaufer did flip herself in to police.