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Nurse poisoned patients with insulin, claimed she wanted to put them out of their misery: Cops

Heather Pressdee, a nurse, poisoned three patients with insulin, killing two, authorities said. (Mugshot: Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General)

Heather Pressdee, a nurse, allegedly poisoned three patients with insulin, killing two, authorities said. (Mugshot: Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General)

A nurse allegedly gave three patients lethal doses of insulin, killing two, and she asserted she intentionally did it because she wanted to stop their suffering, according to authorities in Pennsylvania.

Heather Pressdee, 40, “stated that she felt bad for their quality of life and she had hoped that they would just slip into a coma and pass away,” the complaint stated regarding two victims, 55-year-old J.B. and 83-year-old J.C. She allegedly claimed that the sole survivor, 73-year-old E.A., who was in COVID isolation and having a very difficult time, asked her to kill him.

The three incidents happened while she worked at Quality Life Services in Chicora. Though she allegedly asserted good intentions, authorities highlighted Pressdee’s unstable employment history. Investigators determined that she had a long history since 2018 of “being disciplined for abusive behavior towards patients and/or staff,” resulting in her getting fired or resigning from various facilities:

  • Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Harmarville, where she worked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from October 2018 to April 2019.
  • Allegheny Valley Hospital, where she worked in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, from April to September 2019.
  • Platinum Ridge Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, where she worked in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, from September 2019 to January 2020.
  • Orchards of Saxonburg, where she worked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from February to April 2020.
  • UPMC Passavant-McCandless, where she worked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from April to October 2020.
  • Concordia at Rebecca Resident, a nursing home, where she worked in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, from October 2020 to April 2021.
  • Guardian Healthcare, operating as BelAir Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, where she worked in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, from April 2021 to February 2022.
  • Woodhaven Care Center, where she worked in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, from March to May 2022.
  • Quality Life Services, where she worked in Chicora from May to November 2022.
  • Premier Armstrong Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where she worked in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, from November to December 2022.
  • Butler, Pennsylvania: Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where she worked in Butler, Pennsylvania, from January to May 2023.

Pressdee was hired as the assistant director of nursing at Quality Life and worked from May 23 to Nov. 28, 2022, investigators said. She also stepped in as interim director of nursing while keeping her other position.

“The ADON/DON are the facility leads and in charge of all nursing staff and all administrative tasks that have to be completed to meet all state and federal guidelines,” police said. “Additionally,  they address any patient care concerns, conduct internal investigations, investigate abuse allegations, and handle the scheduling of nurses. The ADON and/or DON will provide direct resident care if needed due to call-offs.”

“The allegations, in this case, outline the callous abuse of incredibly vulnerable patients by a professional nurse,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said. “As the charges indicate, these were deliberate and intentional acts perpetrated by a care-giver who was trusted to care for these victims. Be assured, my office will zealously pursue justice for the families of those who were killed, as well as the third victim who is fortunate to have survived.”

J.B. died at a hospital on Dec. 4, 2020, after suffering respiratory failure and a recurring fever of unclear origin.

“The significant conditions contributing to death are: brainstem malignancy, seizure disorder, neurofibromatosis, and hypoglycemia,” authorities said.

J.C., whose room was linked to J.B.’s through a “Jack and Jill” bathroom, died on Dec. 24, 2022.

They went to the hospital for hypoglycemia within 30 minutes of one another, the complaint said.

A nurse at Quality Life told investigators she had never seen this in more than 30 years of nursing experience, according to the complaint. She also claimed that before J.B.’s death, Preessdee said he would be “better off dead.”

The complaint also noted that E.A. was roommates with J.B. during E.A.’s near-fatal incident on Aug. 31, 2022. He was found seizing in his bed that night, even though he had no known history of seizures. His blood glucose level dropped from 73 mg/dL to 11 mg/dL.

Of the victims, only J.C. was diabetic, and the complaint noted him as “non-insulin dependent.”

Pressdee agreed to talk to investigators post-Miranda, and she signed consent forms for authorities to search her home, two vehicles, and her cell phone.

She is held without bail at the Butler County Prison. She is charged with two counts of homicide, a count of attempted murder, a count of aggravated assault, three counts of neglect of a care-dependent person, and three counts of reckless endangerment.

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