Pennsylvania nurse linked to 17 nursing home deaths

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Pennsylvania nurse proves why you cannot trust every medical professional with your life.

Jon Haworth reported for ABC news on November 3, that:

A former Pennsylvania nurse who, in May, had been accused of killing two patients with doses of insulin, now faces more murder charges. She has confessed to trying to kill 19 additional people at several locations, authorities said Thursday.

Heather Pressdee, 41, is accused of administering excessive amounts of insulin to patients in her care, some of whom were diabetic and required insulin, and some of whom were not, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

In total, 17 patients died who had been cared for by Pressdee.

According to Haworth, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s Office stated:

“The allegations against Ms. Pressdee are disturbing. It is hard to comprehend how a nurse, trusted to care for her patients, could choose to deliberately and systematically harm them,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry. “The damage done to the victims and their loved ones cannot be overstated. Every person in a medical or care facility should feel safe and cared for, and my office will work tirelessly to hold the defendant accountable for her crimes and protect care-dependent Pennsylvanians from future harm.”

Pressdee has now been charged with 2 counts of first-degree murder, 17 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of neglect of a care-dependent person.

Haworth reported that The Attorney General’s Office stated that:

“The alleged crimes happened while Pressdee was employed as a registered nurse at the following facilities: Concordia at Rebecca Residence; Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation (Guardian); Quality Life Services Chicora; Premier Armstrong Rehabilitation and Nursing Center; and Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center,” officials said. “Pressdee typically administered the insulin during overnight shifts when staffing was low and the emergencies would not prompt immediate hospitalization.”

The victims ranged in age from 43 to 104.

Similar to the Elizabeth Wettlaufer murders in London and Woodstock, Ontario Canada, the crimes occurred over several years and there was minimal oversight over the medications at the care homes. Similar to the Wetlaufer case, the news article related to the original charges in May 2023 stated that:

The complaint states that Pressdee has an alleged pattern of “being disciplined for abusive behavior towards patients and/or staff” at several other facilities and either resigned from them or was terminated.

Both Wettlaufer and Pressdee received serious complaints against them and were either fired or resigned their positions. But they were still able to find employment as nurses in other facilities.

During the Wettlaufer trial in Canada, I stated that the deaths were only a tip on the iceberg based on the lack of oversight and the vulnerability of those who were killed. My position remains the same. There may be many more murders occurring in care homes throughout Canada and the USA.

Canada’s euthanasia law lacks the same type of oversight. In Canada a person is approved to be killed when two doctors or nurse practitioners agree that the person qualifies. The law only requires that the doctors and nurse practitioners be of the opinion that the person meet the criteria of the law. In other words, there is no effective oversight of the law and yet 13,241 Canadians reportedly died by euthanasia in 2022.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.