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Canadian Nurse Charged in 8 Nursing Home Deaths

A Toronto nurse has been charged with the deaths of 8 nursing home residents. The victims died in nursing home facilities in the Toronto area between 2007 and 2014. The woman was charged with first degree murder in all 8 cases. According to the Associated Press, AP, the nurse was an employee of Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes, which owns and operates more than a dozen facilities in the south Ontario region.

Victims Were Administered Drugs

The administration of medications is one of the common requirements of nursing home staff members. Typically, prescription medications are kept in a locked area, and only caregivers are able to access it. While it is possible for medication mistakes to occur, they happen infrequently. The details of this case indicate that the nurse provided patients with overdoses of medications, which caused their deaths.

Drugs Used as Restraints

Drugs are sometimes used to restrain nursing home residents. This practice is not legal. Only in some rare instances are medications used to help calm a person, and only under a doctor’s strict care. Staff members are sometimes tempted to utilize drugs as a way to quiet patients who are unruly or combative. Drugs may also be a way to keep from providing proper care to patients by allowing them to sleep for long periods of time. It is unknown in this case whether the medications provided were done as a method of restraint.

Police Are Investigating

The police were alerted to the possible murders only recently. The nurse allegedly administered a deadly dose of an unnamed drug to each of the patients. The deaths happened over a period of 7 years. The drugs that may have been used to murder the patients were kept locked up at all times, according to reports. The police have not disclosed a possible motive for the murders but are also investigating another nursing home employee.

Nurse Charged with First Degree Murder

The nurse was charged with 8 separate counts of first degree murder. The police indicate that they collected evidence regarding the nurse’s involvement in these murders. Up until this point, family members of the deceased did not realize that the deaths of their loved ones were murders. The nursing home is said to be cooperating completely with the police as they continue their investigation into the matter.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Although this incident happened in Canada, it shows just how easy it could be for something similar to occur in our facilities. Nursing homes must complete background checks before hiring staff members. Access to prescription medications should be done only with proper supervision. Nursing homes that use drugs as restraints are likely abusing their residents. If neglect or abuse is taking place, residents could be at risk for serious injuries, or death. In this case, nobody yet knows the reason the nurse administered fatal drug dosages.

If you suspect neglect or abuse in a nursing home, call the experienced lawyers at Levin & Perconti for a consultation.  

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