London, Ont., nursing home had multiple problems with neglect and medication, Wettlaufer inquiry hears

London, Ont., nursing home had multiple problems with neglect and medication, Wettlaufer inquiry hears

Provincial long-term care inspectors found immediate problems with how a London, Ont., nursing home stored, administrated and disposed of medication, the Wettlaufer inquiry heard Thursday. 

When she went into Meadow Park Long-Term Care two days after finding out nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer had confessed to killing resident Arpad Horvath, 75, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care inspector Natalie Moroney said she found a host of medication-related problems. 

Wettlaufer had also confessed to killing seven people while working at Caressant Care in Woodstock from 2007 to 2014. 

Moroney was the lead investigator at Meadow Park while others were sent to Caressant Care and Telfer Place in Paris, Ont., where Wettlaufer had also worked. 

Wettlaufer worked at Meadow Park for five months in 2015. 

The provincial inspections resulting from Wettlaufer’s confession to serial murder lasted from October 2016 to March 2017. 

“We were just there for one day and there were concerns,” Moroney said. “The policies and procedures were not well understood.”

In a medication cart, Moroney found loose opioids that weren’t marked to say who they belonged to or to when they were supposed to be given, and medication in Dixie cups that weren’t in their original packaging. 

“In the medication room there was a large bin for disposal, the containers were full, there were ampules in there, and needles, medication that should have been [destroyed], and there should have been a lid on those bins and there was no lid,” Moroney testified at the Elgin County courthouse in St. Thomas where the long-term care inquiry has been taking place for weeks. 

Some medications were given by personal support workers, something that is not allowed, and others were given to residents even though they weren’t prescribed them. 

Moroney also found critical incidents that happened while Wettlaufer worked at the home and that were not reported to the ministry, including one where Horvath had been found tightly tied to his bed rail with the tie from his jogging pants, one where a resident was sexually touched by a visitor to the home and another in which a resident was pushed by another resident. 

In another incident, also not reported to the ministry, a patient was screaming in the night and was unable to sleep. That resident was in distress but didn’t get any intervention, and there was no pain assessment conducted, Moroney said. 

‘You deserve to die without suffering’

Moroney said there’s nothing the ministry could have done to prevent Wettlaufer’s crimes. 

“As an inspector in the home, there was nothing that suggested that Elizabeth Wettlaufer was giving lethal doses of insulin to Arpad Horvath. Families were not aware, co-workers were not aware,” she said. 

“Long-term care for most people is their very last home. They’re leaving home, they’re leaving their partner who they’ve had all their lives, and they’re entrusting that home to give care and dignity. You deserve to die without suffering and without pain.” 

Moroney said she believes the nursing profession has been tainted by Wettlaufer. 

“I love being a nurse, I’ve always loved being a nurse. Nurses are caring and compassionate and empathetic. They’re the advocate, they’re truthful, and that’s what nursing is all about. It’s about giving care and giving dignity.” 

Published at Fri, 03 Aug 2018 09:59:44 -0400