Wettlaufer called 'angel of death' by co-worker, public inquiry hears
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:13AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:54AM EDT
One of Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s former colleagues once referred to her as the “angel of death” when they worked together at an Ontario nursing home, a public inquiry has heard.
Karen Routledge, a registered nurse who worked with Wettlaufer at the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, Ont., testified that she heard another staff member talking about the convicted serial killer.
“It was in conversation, that Bethe [Wettlaufer] spent extra time with palliative residents and that she had been overheard saying to a palliative resident that it was okay to die,” Routledge said on Wednesday.
Routledge told The Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry that she was uncomfortable with Wettlaufer’s alleged comment to the patient and that she didn’t think it was a “nurse’s place” to make such a remark.
Lawyer Paul Scott represents the families of two of Wettlaufer’s victims and said it’s difficult to know the intention by the label “angel of death.”
“Time will tell whether we have more information on that to find out if it’s just simply that she liked to work with the palliative patients or whether there’s something more to it,” Scott told CTV London on Wednesday.
In June 2017, Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to killing eight patients and assaulting or attempting to kill six others while she worked in nursing homes in Woodstock and London, Ont. She admitted to poisoning her senior victims by injecting them with large doses of insulin.
Wettlaufer was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
From 2007 until she was fired in 2014, Wettlaufer murdered seven of her patients at the Caressant Care home in Woodstock. She killed her final victim at the Meadow Park Long Term Care facility in London.
Routledge worked with Wettlaufer at Caressant Care for the seven years the convicted killer was employed there and also served as the union representative for the registered nurses at the home. She testified that she was present in a number of disciplinary meetings about Wettlaufer’s performance throughout the years.
Routledge said the former nurse was reprimanded for a number of reasons, including lateness, absenteeism, incompetence, and medication errors, before she was eventually fired in 2014.
Despite the infractions, Routledge said that Wettlaufer always appeared to be remorseful during the meetings.
“Bethe, in general, at these meetings would be very contrite and apologetic,” she said.
The public inquiry was launched by the province in August 2017 to determine how Wettlaufer managed to kill so many patients for so long without detection. The hearings, which began on June 5, are set to continue this week with testimonies from more of Wettlaufer’s former colleagues and bosses.
With a report from CTV London’s Nick Paparella