Our care of seniors in Canada is the actual outrage

Christie Blatchford, The Ottawa Citizen

As my late uncle Tommy always said, “Old age ain’t for sissies.” He had it relatively easy, that said: he lived in his own apartment, independent but for a wonderful personal support worker who came a few times a week to help him shower, almost until the end, when he was only briefly hospitalized before he died. He endured his share of the small humiliations, of course, but never had to go into a care home, one of those institutions much in the news since Tuesday, when a nurse who worked in two of them was arrested and charged with no fewer than eight counts of first-degree murder. This is Elizabeth (Bethe) Wettlaufer, a 49-year-old in Woodstock, Ont., who police said administered a drug, which they did not identify, to eight men and women, seven of whom lived at the Caressant Care home in Woodstock, the eighth at Meadow Park in nearby London, Ont. The youngest was Arpad Horvath, 75; the oldest was Mary Zurawinski, 96, with most of the others in their 80s or 90s. They died over a seven-year period ending in August 2014. Such prosecutions can be incredibly tricky, as anyone of a certain age who remembers the case of Susan Nelles, a nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, will know. Nelles was accused in the deaths of four babies there, alleged to have given them overdoses of a heart drug called digoxin, but the prosecution fell apart at the preliminary hearing, she was discharged and no one else was ever arrested.

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