Brantford agency should have blown the whistle on Wettlaufer

Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

A Brantford agency that placed Elizabeth Wettlaufer at nursing homes was wrong not to notify a regulatory college after the nurse admitted she was a “recovered” alcoholic who had resumed drinking, the head of the college told a public inquiry Tuesday. “It’s a huge red flag and warning sign,” Anne Coghlan, the executive director and registrar of the College of Nurses of Ontario, testified. “It definitely (creates) a potential risk of harm (to residents).” Lifeguard Homecare of Brantford, which placed Wettlaufer in a Paris nursing home where she tried to kill a resident, should have reported the nurse’s relapse to the College, Coghlan said. “We all need to be part of the safety net and that is information the College would want to have,” she said. Her testimony comes a month after the head of Lifeguard, Heidi Wilmot Smith, was adamant she was right not to report Wettlaufer, in part because the nurse had shown good judgement in choosing to not work a shift after drinking. But that sort of medical judgement from Wilmot Smith, whose background is in sales, is not supported by evidence, Coghlan said.

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