July 2017

Wettlaufer’s nursing registration revoked

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, a Discipline Panel of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) found Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer’s unprecedented actions of physical abuse to be professional misconduct, as they were disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional. CNO revoked her nursing registration.

In delivering the revocation, panel chair Grace Fox called the case, “the most egregious and disgraceful conduct this panel has ever considered.” The public places enormous trust in nurses, she added. “Elizabeth Wettlaufer breached that in the worst possible way.”

In June, Wettlaufer was found guilty of eight counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault of her patients, and was sentenced to life in prison.   

“The families and the loved ones of the victims have been devastated,” CNO prosecutor Megan Shortreed told the panel. She also highlighted some of the victim impact statements that family members provided at the related criminal proceedings.

At the hearing, the case against Wettlaufer was presented through documents — most prominently, the admissions she made in the criminal proceedings. Wettlaufer chose not to participate in the hearing.

The public inquiry
The College welcomes the government’s recent announcement of an independent public inquiry into the circumstances of the Wettlaufer case. We support the opportunity to find ways to prevent this from happening again.

The College's only mandate is to protect the public. We owe it to Ontarians to clearly understand how this happened and what systemic improvements can be made so that all of us working within the health care system can work together as effectively as possible to protect and care for our loved ones.  

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