Lawsuits mount against Pennsylvania nursing homes that employed nurse accused of patient deaths

 A wrongful death lawsuit was filed March 27 against Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Butler County, Pa., alleging the facility employed a nurse who had a history of administering excessive doses of insulin, according to a report from CBS affiliate KDKA

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of 43-year-old Nicholas Cymbol who died at the facility on May 1, 2023, after he was administered a lethal dose of insulin. The lawsuit alleges Heather Pressdee, a unit manager at the time, administered the lethal dose of insulin. The lawsuit states she had been fired or forced to resign from 10 other facilities in the region in the four years prior to being employed at Sunnyview. 

On May 24, Ms. Pressdee was charged in connection with the mistreatment of three patients while working at Quality Life Services in Chicora, Pa., including two counts of homicide and one count of attempted murder. In November, she was charged in connection with the mistreatment of 19 additional patients that were in her care at five different facilities since 2020. 

"Pressdee is accused of administering excessive amounts of insulin to these patients, some of whom were diabetic and required insulin, some of whom were not," the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a Nov. 2 statement on the latest charges. "In total, 17 patients died who had been cared for by Presdee." 

She was charged with first-degree murder in two cases where physical evidence was available to support the cause of death, the attorney general's office said. She also faces 17 counts of attempted murder and remains in custody. 

According to the lawsuit against Sunnyview, other nurses brought their concerns about Ms. Pressdee to administration, but those concerns were dismissed. Also in March, two other wrongful lawsuits were filed against Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Lower Burrell, another facility where Ms. Pressdee had worked as a registered nurse, CBS previously reported. 

The case has sparked a push for legislation that would allow Pennsylvania to create a registry where employers could flag concerns about nursing home employees. Professional medical associations have also called on healthcare organizations to improve insulin safety by putting stricter safeguards in place.  

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