5 things would have detered nurse from killing

  1. "I've given a lot of thought to changes that could have been made where I would not have been able to do this."


    5 things nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer suggests might have stopped her killing | CBC News

    Listed in the article are the 5 things that Canadian nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer say could have deterred her serial killing of patients.

    She thinks insulin should be counted, for one. I hope that doesn't come into being, but I can see some desk jockey thinking it a great idea.

    Interesting that she says Seroquel numbed her conscience and made it easier to kill. It sounds like she was very poorly monitored psychiatrically.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Aug 13
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    About Emergent, RN

    Joined: Dec '13; Posts: 2,430; Likes: 17,719

    34 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    Interesting article, but I think this is just her way of not accepting blame.

    So basically, "Look at all the ways I could have been stopped - the system failed me." She exploited her position of trust and her education- end of story.
  4. by   klone
    Exactly. I didn't see "Don't kill people because killing people is wrong and wanting to kill people makes you all sorts of ****** up" on her list.
  5. by   pixierose
    "Phew, off the Seroquel and I'm totes fine now. It's my psychiatrist's fault since he didn't probe!"

    Yeah, the article is just "5 ways it's not my fault, y'all."
  6. by   Emergent
    I wouldn't write off the negative effects of Seroquel so fast. These psychotropic drugs are handed out willy nilly these days, and can have undesirable effects.

    Growing concerns over side-effects and soaring prescription rates of psychiatric drug Seroquel - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  7. by   hppygr8ful
    When a person has no moral/ethical compass no amount of oversight is going to keep them from doing terrible things!

    Hppy
  8. by   klone
    Quote from Emergent
    I wouldn't write off the negative effects of Seroquel so fast. These psychotropic drugs are handed out willy nilly these days, and can have undesirable effects.

    Growing concerns over side-effects and soaring prescription rates of psychiatric drug Seroquel - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
    And how many people taking Seroquel have become mass murderers, exactly?

    Nobody is saying that it can't have negative effects. But I don't think "may commit murder" is on the list of manufacturer adverse effects.
  9. by   pixierose
    Quote from Emergent
    I wouldn't write off the negative effects of Seroquel so fast. These psychotropic drugs are handed out willy nilly these days, and can have undesirable effects.

    Growing concerns over side-effects and soaring prescription rates of psychiatric drug Seroquel - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
    As someone who has been on Seroquel for years (under the care of a psychiatrist) for bipolar disorder, you can say this for any medication purely anecdotal. Given to a person with no moral compass (either from the prescribing role of a physician who gives Willy nilly or from the one taking it, like the nurse in this article) and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Given to a person who truly needs it, it's literally a life saver. Not one taking lives. Didn't realize I had the capacity to become a mass murderer.

    edited to add: reading that entire article for the 3rd time, many people who take such medications DO know the risks. That's one reason why so many people don't take the medication; why does one want to take a med that cause significant weight gain, increase their risk of diabetes, or cause tachycardia? They DON'T. But the benefits outweighs the risks for many of us, good golly. No psychosis and just the possibility of diabetes? I'll take it! (FWIW, I'm one of the lucky ones who didn't gain weight, didn't get tachy, and doesn't have diabetes).
    Last edit by pixierose on Aug 12
  10. by   Sour Lemon
    What I gather from this article is that she loves to hear herself talk. In some cases, just not giving these people an audience or "fame" would probably deter them.
  11. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from klone
    And how many people taking Seroquel have become mass murderers, exactly?

    Nobody is saying that it can't have negative effects. But I don't think "may commit murder" is on the list of manufacturer adverse effects.
    It's right there is the very small print - sudden desire to kill people with malice of forethought. As a psych nurse I agree that Seroquel is way over prescribed but committing murder hasn't seemed to be one of the known side effects so far.


    Hppy
  12. by   macawake
    Sad and horrific story.

    I think that it's worth noting that the convicted murderer didn't initiate the discussion about these five things that might have made it more difficult for her to commit the murders. As far as I can tell, she didn't try to argue them at trial. She was convicted because she confessed to murder and attempted murder to staff at a drug rehab facility, where she was an inpatient in 2016.

    The staff in turn notified the College of Nurses and the local police regarding her confession. She herself wrote an email to the College of Nurses and resigned as a nurse, citing the fact that she had deliberately harmed patients under her care and was now being investigated by the police for those crimes. From what I understand, after confessing to the staff at the rehab facility, she cooperated fully with the police's investigation.

    If her account is to believed, she also confessed several times prior to the time she confessed in rehab, but no one seemed to take her seriously.

    Elizabeth Wettlaufer - Wikipedia

    She was later contacted and asked by three lawyers as part of an inquiry, who visited her in prison, where she had already started to serve her eight concurrent llfe sentences. One of the questions these lawyers asked was according the article that OP linked; what she thinks "could have stopped, or reduced, her killing spree?"

    It is possible that she gave the anwers to the inquiry lawyers because she is trying to displace and allocate at least some of the blame of her crimes, to external circumstances such as facility protocol.

    But another possibility exists. She could be trying to be a "model prisoner" by trying to be helpful and come up with answers to help with this inquiry. Many times prisoners who serve a long sentence, know that their probably only chance of possibly getting parole sometime in the future, is to keep their nose clean and cooperate with the authorities.

    I think we should be mindful that we don't know about everything on this woman's mind and in her heart from reading one or two newspaper articles.

    I don't know how many of you have actually talked to real-life murderers about their crimes? I have. I find it entirely plausible that she is now experiencing remorse in a way that she didn't previously. If that's the Seroquel or not, is not for me to speculate about. But what I do know is that people with drug abuse problems and/or psychiatric problems who commit violent crimes, often experience a major crisis when the full extent of what they've actually done, dawns on them.

    It is my opinion, anecdotal since it's based on my personal experience, that they often report credibly that they felt detached when the crime occurred and the realization of their own culpability can be painful for those criminals who have even a shred of normal empathy. To me, they are all still wholly responsible for their crimes. I'm just noting that there are two groups of offenders. Those who completely lack a conscience and never feel any remorse, and those who actually are affected by what they've done.

    I'm not saying this as an excuse for this convicted murderer. In my opinion she deserves every single one of those eight life sentences. What I'm saying though, is that life is seldom black and white. There are many shades of grey.

    One part of the article that Emergent linked, was in my opinion particularly chilling. According to the article, the convicted murderer said that she picked patients with dementia because "they couldn't report or if they reported, they wouldn't have been believed". That clearly shows calculation and awareness of the risk of getting caught. That's in my opinion cold.

    She also, according to the article, said that "anybody I ever did had dementia". Please note the use of "did". What she did was murder or try to murder defenseless patients entrusted to her care.

    Why is she using the word "did"? It could be that she's not accepting responsibility for her acts and using such a dehumanizing verb to describe the act of murder, could point to a lack of empathy and disregard/indifference for the life of others. But it could also be, and I've seen this is real life, that it's a way to attempt to protect herself from painful thoughts. Saying "I murdered" might actually be too painful, so she tries to distance herself by using a neutral word. I don't know enough about this case to guess which of the two possible explanations apply to her.

    Personally I doubt that more stringent controls regarding insulin storage and administration, would have stopped her from killing her patients. It seems from the article that she avoided opioids because they are better accounted for.

    If the same had been true for insulin, I suspect that any sufficiently motivated person would just have found another method. Or accepted the larger risk, if the urge to kill was strong enough. This is just me guessing, I have no possible way of knowing for sure.

    Of course drugs and medications don't turn a person into a murderer. But I don't think that there is anyone here who will argue that medications can't have effects and side effects. Alcohol is famous for lowering inhibitions and there's a reason why some violent offenders like to take, or drug others with, for example flunitrazepam.

    We can all speculate about this specific case. However, one thing I think we can all agree on, is that it's painful to see a healthcare professional so completely betray her duties to her patients.
  13. by   Wuzzie
    Macawake, I really like your viewpoint on this and I tend to agree. I'm not sure everyone caught that this was an inquiry after she was convicted. It didn't strike me as her deflecting blame as much as it did others here. We've had television programs in the US where burglars have shared how they did what they did to inform homeowners how they could protect themselves. I'm sure they did it as a means to assuage their guilty consciences but it never struck me as victim blaming. Let me be clear, what this woman did was evil to the nth degree but I'm hesitant to assume what her intent in answering the inquiry's questions was. If you look at her answers some of them pointed out issues that actually are problems. Physicians handing out scripts for powerful medications with little to no assessment of their patients, a broken down mental health system, a society that has become apathetic (how many people did she tell that did nothing?). No, these aren't excuses for WHAT she did but they certainly are a means to make it more difficult to stop her from doing it at all. Don't get me wrong. I believe she is 100% responsible for her heinous acts I just can't say for sure that she doesn't think so too.
  14. by   pixierose
    Quote from Wuzzie
    Macawake, I really like your viewpoint on this and I tend to agree. I'm not sure everyone caught that this was an inquiry after she was convicted. It didn't strike me as her deflecting blame as much as it did others here. We've had television programs in the US where burglars have shared how they did what they did to inform homeowners how they could protect themselves. I'm sure they did it as a means to assuage their guilty consciences but it never struck me as victim blaming. Let me be clear, what this woman did was evil to the nth degree but I'm hesitant to assume what her intent in answering the inquiry's questions was. If you look at her answers some of them pointed out issues that actually are problems. Physicians handing out scripts for powerful medications with little to no assessment of their patients, a broken down mental health system, a society that has become apathetic (how many people did she tell that did nothing?). No, these aren't excuses for WHAT she did but they certainly are a means to make it more difficult to stop her from doing it at all. Don't get me wrong. I believe she is 100% responsible for her heinous acts I just can't say for sure that she doesn't think so too.
    I remember watching a news story a little while ago, saying that she wouldnt have been a serial killer if she wouldn't have been a nurse due to the methods she had available and the population she targeted. I'll have to try to find it.

    But it does allude to both you and macawake's points so I'll adjust my point of view.

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