It’s not surprising that Ontario’s nursing regulator recently held a disciplinary hearing for a nurse, even though she has resigned from the profession and is serving a life sentence for killing eight seniors, says Toronto litigator Richard Shekter.
“Notwithstanding that the result is a foregone conclusion, they want to be seen as basically getting ahead of the story and doing the right thing,” says Shekter, partner with Shekter Dychtenberg LLP. “This thing is a political hot potato.”
The College of Nurses of Ontario held a discipline hearing for Elizabeth Wettlaufer in late July, almost two months after the 50-year-old former nurse pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of eight seniors in her care, attempted murder of four others and aggravated assault of two more people, all by way of drug overdoses.
The college’s disciplinary panel found her guilty of professional misconduct and revoked her licence, even though she had resigned 10 months earlier, reports Canadian Press.
“It’s not surprising that a discipline hearing was held with all of the public scrutiny this is getting,” Shekter tells AdvocateDaily.com. “And I’m sure there’s as much concern about potential civil liability so that the college doesn’t want to do anything that would be considered after the fact to be turning its back on this thing.”
The college has, since 1994, had the power to discipline members even if they have resigned, Shekter says.
It frequently holds such hearings to prevent delinquent nurses from being able to travel to another jurisdiction and start with a clean slate because their licence has not been suspended or revoked, he says.
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