CHICORA, Pa. — Authorities arrested a registered nurse Wednesday after she admitted to giving three patients unnecessary medication in order to kill them, investigators said.
Officials took Heather Pressdee, 40, into custody on charges including two counts of homicide and one count of attempted murder, WPXI reported. She was being held Thursday at Butler County Prison without bail, according to the news station.
In a criminal complaint shared Thursday by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, officials said Pressdee worked as a registered nurse at Quality Life Services Chicora from May 23, 2022, until Nov. 28, 2022. During her time at the skilled nursing facility, authorities said she administered lethal doses of insulin to three men, two of whom died.
The first incident happened in August 2022, when staff at Quality Life Services found a 73-year-old patient seizing in his bed about two hours after Pressdee clocked out for the day. He had no history of seizures or diabetes, and tests later determined he had a “profoundly low” blood sugar count, the complaint shows.
He was taken to a hospital, where doctors were able to stabilize his blood sugar.
The other two incidents happened back-to-back on Nov. 20, 2022, when Quality Life Services staff members found two men suffering from low blood sugar one after the other within three hours of Pressdee’s shift. They were both taken to the hospital, where doctors determined they had likely been administered insulin.
One of the patients, a 55-year-old non-verbal man who had several medical conditions, died on Dec. 4, 2022. The other, an 83-year-old long-term resident of Quality Life Services who had been in hospice care, died on Dec. 25, 2022.
On Wednesday, investigators interviewed Pressdee at her home, where she admitted to having injected the 55-year-old and the 83-year-old with insulin, according to the complaint.
“She 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,” authorities said.
In a later interview with investigators and her mother, Pressdee also admitted to having given unneeded insulin to the 73-year-old patient, saying that he was in COVID isolation and having a hard time in August 2022, the complaint shows. She said he asked her to kill him, and so she injected him with long-acting insulin and did nothing when he began to show symptoms of the drug’s effects.
Pressdee said she felt bad for the 55-year-old patient, whose “quality of life was not good,” according to investigators. She told authorities that when he began to moan in pain around midnight during her shift on Nov. 20, 2022, she injected him with insulin.
The 83-year-old she described as “a difficult patient” who was immobile and unusually quiet on the night she injected him with a lethal dose of insulin, authorities said.
“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 caregiver who was trusted to care for these victims.”
In a statement obtained by WPXI, officials with Quality Life Services Chicora said they were “shocked and devastated” to learn that the charges against Pressdee involved incidents that happened at the facility.
“We will continue to fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s office as needed in this investigation and prosecution of this matter,” the statement said. “We can assure our community, our residents, our families and our staff that all residents of Quality Life Services – Chicora are safe and are receiving appropriate care and services.”