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Former colleagues at public inquiry recount work life with nurse Wettlaufer

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She used unsterile equipment to treat a patient. 

She used inappropriate language with co-workers and residents of the nursing home where she worked. 

She took great interest in palliative care cases and was overheard whispering “it’s OK to die” to an elderly patient. That prompted one co-worker to call her an “angel of death.”  

Former colleagues of Woodstock, Ont., nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer are recounting what it was like to work with the woman who eventually confessed to killing eight patients in her care, and trying to kill or harm six others. 

They didn’t know she was on a killing spree. 

They’re testifying at the public inquiry into long-term care in Ontario. 

Former colleagues and bosses have also told the inquiry that Wettlaufer was lazy and sometimes more interested in chatting with other nurses and personal support workers than in doing her job as a registered nurse at Caressant Care in Woodstock. 

But she would also bring in treats for the residents and seemed generally happy. In a public inquiry into the crimes of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, testimony revealed a nursing colleague once called Wettlaufer ‘an Angel of Death.’ 1:52

The Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry, established on Aug. 1, 2017, after Wettlaufer was sentenced to eight concurrent life terms, is headed by Justice Eileen Gillese. It began hearings in St. Thomas on June 5 into how Wettlaufer’s crimes went undetected for so long. 

Wettlaufer’s killing spree began in 2007 and continued until 2016, when she finally confessed to a psychiatrist and a social worker. Until then, her employers, police and Ontario’s licensing body for nurses had no idea eight patients had been murdered and six more poisoned — all with injections of massive doses of insulin.

The public inquiry has heard from Wettlaufer’s two former bosses and a fellow registered nurse at Caressant Care as well as from the president of Lifeguard Homecare, an agency that hires out nurses. Wettlaufer worked there after leaving Meadow Park in London. 

On Thursday, that witness is expected to wrap up her testimony. After that, the Caressant Care home will hear from another nurse who worked with Wettlaufer at Caressant Care. 

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