The Canadian killer nurse nicknamed the Shadow of Death by a judge has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 8 patients and the attempted murder of 4 others, all between 75 and 96 years of age. The nurse, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, committed the crimes between 2007 and 2014 by using injected insulin to slowly torture and kill her helpless victims. The murders occurred at 3 different long term care facilities, as well as at one victim’s personal home and no motive has ever been given. Court proceedings revealed that Wettlaufer was formerly addicted to opioids, as well as an alcoholic. Her marriage had fallen apart and she had recently gotten a divorce before she murdered her first victim in 2007.
While she is eligible for parole in 25 years, legal experts believe it’s unlikely she will ever see freedom.
Civil Cases Likely Won’t End in Victory
A Canadian nursing home attorney tells a Canadian news channel that civil lawsuits brought by the victim’s families most likely won’t end well because of something called the Trustee Act. The Trustee Act contains a provision that says legal action cannot be brought more than 2 years after the death of the person for which one is named a trustee. This means that all of Wettlaufer’s victims are outside of the statute of limitations. An attorney for one of the victim’s daughters plans to argue that because the cause of death wasn’t discovered until fall 2016, the 2 year statue mandated by the Trustee Act should start from the date when the true cause of death was discovered.
Civil proceedings were being held off until Wettlaufer’s sentencing. Now that she is serving life in prison, it will be left to a judge to determine how to apply the Trustee Act and if Wettlaufer will face the families again in civil court.
Statue of Limitations in Illinois
A statue of limitations is a true concern when filing a lawsuit against a nursing home or other long term care facility. The laws are complex and vary according to where the abuse or neglect was endured, when the situation occurred, and when it was discovered. It is crucial that loved ones contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney as soon as they suspect any form of maltreatment. The Chicago, Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers of Levin and Perconti have spent over 25 years pursuing justice for victims and their loved ones. All too often nursing homes choose to coverup rather than come forward and your loved ones deserve an attorney committed to finding the truth.
Case evaluations are always free and are completed by one of our expert attorneys. Please, if you suspect any form of nursing home abuse or neglect, call us at 1-877-374-1417 or complete our online case evaluation request form.