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Nurse charged with 2 homicides at Chicora area care center, worked elsewhere in county

Heather Pressdee
AG says insulin overdose used

A former registered nurse, who has worked at three Butler County care facilities, has been accused of causing the death of two patients and the hospitalization of a third by insulin overdoses at a Donegal Township nursing home, according to charges filed Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General charged Heather I. Pressdee, 40, of Natrona Heights, with two counts of criminal homicide, one count of criminal attempted homicide, three felony counts of neglect of a care dependent person and one count of aggravated assault, and three misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

Pressdee was arraigned before District Judge Kevin O’Donnell. Her preliminary hearing is set June 6 before District Judge Lewis Stoughton.

Court documents show that Pressdee is charged with injecting three patients with insulin, which caused the death of two people and the hospitalization of one other at Quality Life Services, 160 Medical Center Road.

“The allegations in this case outline the callous abuse of incredibly vulnerable patients by a professional nurse,” said state Attorney General Michelle Henry. “As the charges indicate, these were deliberate and intentional acts perpetrated by a caregiver 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.”

Pressdee is charged with homicide in the death of a 55-year-old man and an 83-year-old man. The third victim, a 73-year-old man, survived after emergency hospitalization.

In an interview with investigators, Pressdee said she had injected the patients because she felt bad for their quality of life and hoped they would “just slip into a coma and pass away.”

The two men died on Dec. 4, 2022 and Dec. 25, 2022.

The victim who survived was administered a potentially lethal dose of insulin on Aug. 31, 2022.

Two of the three men were not diabetic.

Pressdee was employed at Quality Life Services from May to November of 2022 as the assistant director of nursing and interim director of nursing, according to charging documents.

Representatives of Quality Life Services issued a statement Thursday, May 25, regarding the allegations against Pressdee.

Mary Susan Tack-Yurek, the company’s chief quality officer, said the organization will continue to fully cooperate with the attorney general’s office in the investigation.

“As a family-owned organization that prides itself on providing safe and compassionate care, Quality Life Services is shocked and devastated to learn that the charges brought against Ms. Pressdee by the Attorney General’s Office include alleged illegal activity that occurred at our QLS — Chicora facility,” she 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.”

Police said Pressdee has worked for short spans of time at 11 various care facilities throughout Allegheny, Armstrong and Butler counties from 2018 until May of 2023.

Pressdee worked at Orchards of Saxonburg from February to April 2020, Quality Life Services in Donegal Township from May to November 2022, and Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center from January to May 2023, charging documents said.

In a statement, Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center said, “The charges announced today by the state attorney general against a registered nurse employed at a skilled nursing facility in Chicora are the subject of a pending criminal matter and, as such, we are not in a position to comment at this time.”

In the affidavit, investigators said they identified a pattern in Pressdee’s work history, saying she was disciplined for abusive behavior toward patients and staff at each facility. This resulted in her termination or resignation.

Documents show Pressdee was placed in Butler County Prison on Wednesday, May 24, without the possibility of bail.

73-year-old found seizing

Investigators detailed in the affidavit that Pressdee worked at Quality Life Services from May 23 to Nov. 28, 2022 as the assistant director of nursing and as the interim director of nursing.

The position required her to be in charge of nursing staff, address patient care concerns and investigate abuse.

On Aug. 31, 2022, a 73-year-old male patient was found seizing in his bed at Quality Life Services. The patient had no prior experiences with seizures, which are a symptom of hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which a diabetic individual’s blood sugar is dangerously low. An influx of insulin can cause blood sugar to drop, resulting in hypoglycemia.

The patient was non-diabetic, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said Pressdee had been the nurse treating the 73-year-old, and medical records showed she had administered medication 10 minutes before he began seizing.

The 73-year-old was transferred to the hospital, where it was determined he’d been given insulin, and his drop in blood sugar could have caused the seizure.

A nurse told investigators Pressdee stayed longer for her shift on Aug. 31, 2022. Pressdee told the nurse she still had duties to fulfill, and this nurse observed her entering the 73-year-old patient’s room before the incident.

On Wednesday, May 24, Pressdee told investigators in an interview that she injected 100 units of insulin into the stomach of the 73-year-old man while treating him in COVID-19 isolation. Pressdee said the man asked her to kill him.

According to the affidavit, Pressdee did not address his symptoms after the injection, and the oncoming shift nurses sent him to the hospital.

Victims shared a suite

The initial investigation into Pressdee was sparked from allegations about the improper administration of insulin causing the untimely deaths of two men.

Documents show that on Oct. 16, 2022, a 55-year-old male patient was transferred to Butler Memorial Hospital for a urinary tract infection. It was also discovered that he was hypoglycemic.

Investigators noted that the 55-year-old man was not diabetic.

Once recovered, the man was transported back to Quality Life Services. But on Nov. 20, 2022, he returned to the hospital for hypoglycemia.

The 55-year-old man’s blood sugar was noted as profoundly low by medical professionals, according to the affidavit, and they believed he had been administered insulin.

Investigators said the 55-year-old man was unable to have administered the insulin himself.

Medical providers were not able to stabilize the 55-year-old man following this incident, and on Dec. 4, 2022, the family decided to end life-sustaining care, and he died.

One of the man’s causes of death is listed as hypoglycemia, investigators said.

A nurse practitioner told investigators that prior to the 55-year-old man’s hypoglycemic episode, Pressdee said he would be “better off dead.”

About 10 minutes after the first man was found hypoglycemic, his 83-year-old suite mate was transferred to Butler Memorial Hospital for similar symptoms.

A nurse practitioner told investigators that she’d never seen this occur in her 30-year career.

The 83-year-old was described as a non-insulin dependent diabetic and unable to administer insulin to himself in the affidavit. The man had been placed at Quality Life Services for hospice care.

The 83-year-old died on Dec. 25, 2022, with his cause of death listed as respiratory arrest, end stage dementia, chronic kidney disease and heart disease, investigators said.

According to the affidavit, Pressdee was listed as the nurse working the night shift from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20, 2022, when the two men’s hypoglycemic episodes occurred. She also was listed as being in charge of the medicine cart during the shift.

Pressdee’s statement

On Wednesday, May 24, Pressdee was interviewed by investigators at her home in Natrona Heights.

When questioned about the early deaths of the two men at Quality Life Services, she reported that she provided insulin to the patients within 30 minutes of each other.

Pressdee told investigators that she felt bad for the 55-year-old patient. At midnight on Nov. 20, 2022, she injected him in the shoulder with 60 units of short-acting insulin.

She also told investigators that she injected the 83-year-old patient in the stomach with 60 units of short-acting insulin at 12:30 a.m.

Pressdee said she had injected the patients because she felt bad for their quality of life and hoped they would “just slip into a coma and pass away.”

The affidavit indicates that Pressdee had been a veterinary technician for 14 years before finishing her degree to be a registered nurse.

The investigation against Pressdee remains active. Anyone with concerns about care their loved one received involving Pressdee is urged to contact the Office of Attorney General’s tip line at 888-538-8541.

The investigation is being conducted by the state Office of Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Section and Bureau of Narcotics Investigation.

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