Caressant Care: CNO chose not to probe further despite concerns over Elizabeth Wettlaufer raised in 2014

A woman walks into the Caressant Care facility in Woodstock, Ont., on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.
A woman walks into the Caressant Care facility in Woodstock, Ont., on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE/Dave Chidley

A day after the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) formally revoked Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s certification, a nursing home at the centre of the case has released a statement.

During Tuesday’s disciplinary hearing, the panel heard Wettlaufer had given one patient insulin that belonged to another patient and was fired from Caressant Care in Woodstock for doing so.

In a statement, the nursing home clarified that it followed proper procedures after firing Wettlaufer on March 31, 2014, and that the College determined there was no reason to further probe the issue.

The home stated that Wettlaufer was fired after making 10 workplace violations over the course of two-and-a-half years, with three of the violations leading to suspensions.

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Caressant Care states that after her termination, it sent the College a 20-page chronological report outlining its concerns on April 17, 2014, which the College stated it didn’t receive until May 1, 2014.

According to the nursing home, the report stated Wettlaufer was “terminated due to a medication error that resulted in putting a resident at risk,” but the College determined “there was no underlying issue or concern with the Member.”

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The statement adds that the home was “notified by the CNO on July 17, 2014, that it had received our written report… and would contact us if further information were required,” but that no contact was made on the matter until after the charges were laid in 2016.

Caressant Care also argues that the documents submitted to the CNO during Tuesday’s hearing failed to include that the home reported underlying concerns.

The College of Nurses of Ontario strongly disputed those allegations in a statement emailed to AM980 from Mark Sandler, the counsel for the College. Sandler writes that none of the documentation submitted in regards to Wettlaufer’s termination involved an “allegation of deliberate abuse or deliberate over administration of drugs” and that the documentation provided by the Caressant Care’s director of nursing was referred to at Tuesday’s hearing. The statement concluded:

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In 2016, only after Ms Wettlaufer’s criminal activities were already known and two years after the termination, Caressant Care wrote to the College. The characterizations it made in that letter for the first time were different than in its earlier verbal and written reports to the College.

Caressant Care, along with Meadow Park in London and Elizabeth Wettlaufer herself, faces a civil lawsuit filed by the families of some of the victims.

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