Nurse accused of killing 17 patients handed new charges

Heather Pressdee, a former Pennsylvania nurse who was charged with killing two patients with lethal doses of insulin in May, is facing dozens of new charges, authorities announced.

Prosecutors allege that the 41-year-old attempted to kill 19 patients in five nursing homes with lethal injections of insulin starting in 2020.

Ms Pressdee has now been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 17 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of neglect of a care-dependent person, in connection with the 19 patients she allegedly mistreated, Attorney General Michelle Henry said on Thursday.

She was charged in May for allegedly mistreating three patients, two of whom died. That brings the total number of allegedly mistreated patients to 22.

Her alleged victims were aged between 43 and 104, according to prosecutors, who say that 17 patients in her care died.

Ms Pressdee admitted to attempting to kill the 19 other patients at facilities across western Pennsylvania, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Former nurse Heather Pressdee accused of murdering patients with insulin injections (Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office)
Former nurse Heather Pressdee accused of murdering patients with insulin injections (Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office)

The document also contains troubling text messages Ms Pressdee sent to her mother in which she stated that she wanted to harm others.

“I may stab a nurse already,” Ms Pressdee wrote in Jan 2023. In Sept 2022, she said, “I’m gonna murder my aides.”

Some of the people in Ms Pressdee’s care were diabetic and required insulin while others did not, the release notes. The former nurse typically administered the insulin doses while working overnight shifts at rehabilitation and nursing centres with low staff numbers because the emergencies would not prompt immediate hospitalisation.

Ms Pressdee has been charged with murder in cases where physical evidence was available to support the cause of death, while she’s been given attempted murder charges in cases where victims survived the doses, or the cause of death could not be determined, according to the release.

Ms Pressdee waived her right to a preliminary hearing related to the charges and is currently being held without bail at Butler County Prison.

“The allegations against Ms Pressdee are disturbing,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a written statement. “It’s hard to comprehend how a nurse, trusted to care for her patients, could choose to deliberately and systematically harm them.

“The damage done to the victims and their loved ones cannot be overstated.”