DISCUSSIONS: 4 – (June 2) Nurse of death expected to plead guilty to 8 murder charges…

Elizabeth Wettlaufer is accused of murdering 8 seniors who lived in care homes believing they were safe and secure.

She could have been identified and lives could have been saved.

She was identified but not enough was done about it.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer worked in care homes for seven years, 2007 – 2014 and had been spotted doing questionable things. She incorrectly medicated people; she over medicated some residents; she mishandled prescribed medications. And she was fired eventually by one of the homes in which she worked, Caressant Care. She was recorded as having a pattern of behaviours that placed residents at risk.

Could the victims who were killed been saved? Maybe but again two factors are likely at play here and which may have altered the situation if they had been properly managed.

Ageism
Once again ageism rears its ugly head in this story. The victims were all old people, retirees and aged. Their ages ranged from mid 50’s to early 90’s. If these victims had been younger, or children, perhaps there would have been more intensity in the scrutiny of care home employees and their work habits. If the victims were younger, perhaps a more aggressive and intense investigation would have started sooner.

Cost
The second factor in play is cost. These care homes are not charity ventures. They exist to earn their investors a profit. So no money is set aside for creating anything which diminishes possible profit.

Perhaps an employee history accessible by every senior care facility might have spotted the problems with Wettlaufer and warned others that she should not be hired. But such a system of employee tracking would be expensive. It may also be seen as an invasion of personal rights.

The provincial government may have had a card to play in this tragedy but how long are its arms, how deep are its pockets, how much can it do? One may criticize it for priorities but the province’s concerns and involvements can only go so far and into just so many areas.

Are all of us guilty of negligence?
Society continues to hide behind biases, facades and masks such as political correctness. The result is catastrophic on others in many ways. The murdered seniors were more than just victims of Elizabeth Wettlaufer. They were victims of our society itself.

Hopefully, the court’s verdict will be one which brings some satisfaction to the grieving families of the victims.

Source: The Canadian Press and Toronto Star

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