A Pennsylvania nurse is accused of administering lethal doses of insulin to two patients, the state attorney general said.
Heather Irene Pressdee, 40, of Natrona Heights, allegedly gave the patients “overdoses of insulin” while a registered nurse at Quality Life Services, a skilled nursing facility in Chicora, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said in a news release.
A criminal complaint says she was employed at the facility from May 23, 2022, to November 28, 2022.
One patient died Dec. 4 and the other on Dec 25. They were 55 and 83 years old, the office said.
A third patient, a 73-year-old man, was given an unhealthy amount of insulin on Aug. 31, 2022, but survived following emergency hospitalization, officials said.
Two of the three patients were not diabetic. Their names have not been released.
Pressdee was arrested at her home Wednesday on homicide, attempted murder, aggravated assault, neglect and reckless endangerment charges, according to the state AG.
She was arraigned Wednesday night and is being held at the Butler County Prison without bail. It’s not clear if she has obtained an attorney.
Attorney General Michelle Henry said the nurse was supposed to care for the patients but “intentionally and maliciously injected them with insulin to kill them.”
“The allegations in this case outline the callous abuse of incredibly vulnerable patients by a professional nurse,” Henry said in a statement. “As the charges indicate, these were deliberate and intentional acts perpetrated by a caregiver who was trusted to care for these victims.”
Quality Life Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Authorities launched an investigation after a victim’s relative alleged in a complaint that the nurse was involved in the improper administration of insulin to patients under her care, according to a criminal complaint. All three victims were transported to the hospital because of low blood sugar immediately after a shift in which Pressdee cared for them, it says.
One of the patients who died was nonverbal, according to the complaint, which identified him as J.B. He was taken to the hospital in October 2022, and a medical team determined he had critically low blood sugar, it says. He was treated and sent back to the facility.
On Nov. 20, 2022, J.B. was again hospitalized for low blood sugar and died two weeks later. A nurse at the facility told authorities that Pressdee allegedly said J.B. would be “better off dead,” the complaint says.
The other victim who died, identified in the complaint as J.C., was a hospice patient and suitemate of J.B. He was taken to the hospital 10 minutes after J.B.’s November hospitalization, according to the complaint. J.C.’s family opted to have him transferred back to the facility, where he died on Christmas Day, according to the complaint.
The third victim, identified as E.A., was found seizing in his bed shortly after receiving care from Pressdee, the complaint states. He was taken to the hospital and sent to another facility.
Pressdee told investigators that E.A. was in Covid isolation and had asked her to “kill him,” according to the complaint. She allegedly said she removed insulin from the medication cart and gave him one syringe in his stomach.
“She stated that he began showing symptoms and that she did not address the symptoms, and the oncoming shift sent him to the hospital,” it says.
When asked about the other two victims, Pressdee allegedly said their quality of life was not good, the complaint says. She is accused of injecting each of them with 60 units of short-acting insulin.
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.