According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Heather Pressdee, a registered nurse in the Western Pennsylvania area, has been charged with killing four patients by administering fatal doses of insulin. Witnesses say that Pressdee mocked people with intellectual disabilities and told her colleagues that a man with a brain injury didn’t deserve to live.
Over the last three years, Pressdee moved between several facilities where 17 different patients with serious but not life-threatening health conditions suddenly died of insulin overdoses. Doctors and nurses who worked with her voiced concerns that she could be harming patients, but no consequences outside of conversations or suspensions ever occurred.
In various interviews, Pressdee told law enforcement officials that she injected insulin in patients whom she believed would be better off dead. And in a text she sent to her mother, she reportedly stated that she wanted to give a patient “pillow therapy,” a reference to smothering them with a pillow.
Prosecutors say that she faces 17 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of neglect of a care-dependent person, in addition to the four counts of murder where they were able to find physical evidence connecting Pressdee to the deaths.
Although she is cooperating with the Pennsylvania State Attorney’s Office and her nursing license was suspended after her arrest in May 2023, Pressdee’s brief time as a nurse is disturbing.
A Sinister Timeline
Pressdee became a registered nurse in 2018 after working as a veterinary technician. These are the unsettling highlights of her brief career:
- 2018 – Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Harmarville
Pressdee started working at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Harmarville in Pittsburg. She was reprimanded within the first two months by her supervisor, who “took actions internally” after Pressdee didn’t follow a doctor’s orders regarding the correct insulin dosage.
After six months, Pressdee left the facility, although court records do not indicate if she was fired or chose to resign.
- 2020 – Concordia at Rebecca Residence
Pressdee started her job at Concordia at Rebecca Residence, a senior care home in Allison Park, PA, also a suburb of Pittsburg. By December of that year, she had given another incorrect insulin dosage, this time to an 86-year-old patient. Pressdee admitted to investigators that she dosed the patient with 120 units of insulin – three times the normal daily dose for a person with type 1 diabetes.
Court records show that this patient had no history of diabetes and that Pressdee later pronounced the woman dead herself during her overnight shift.
- 2021 – Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation
Pressdee changed locales again, taking on the position of assistant director of nursing at Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Lower Burrell, PA, still in the Pittsburg suburbs. Four patients died there from insulin overdoses. A doctor at Belair reported Pressdee to the state Department of Health, voicing concerns that she was harming patients and staff at Belair were also concerned that Pressdee was killing patients after the death of a 92-year-old woman under her care.
After Belair staff investigated and suspended Pressdee, the family of one of the Belair victims started a lawsuit against the facility.
Court records show that Belair was not able to find evidence that Pressdee did kill patients, although she later admitted that she had dosed the 92-year-old with insulin.
- 2022 – Quality Life Services Chicora
She started work in the spring of 2022 at Quality Life Services Chicora in Butler County, where she held the position of assistant director of nursing and interim director of nursing. Four more patients died under her care, and another four suffered low blood sugar events but survived. Court documents state that Pressdee admitted to giving all of them insulin.
- Premier Armstrong Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
Two deaths occurred at Premier, with no further details available.
- Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
Pressdee’s colleagues at Sunnyview reported that she spoke ill of patients, specifically calling a 104-year-old woman “disgusting” and a 43-year-old man with a brain injury a slur. Both patients unexpectedly died of insulin overdose, and court records show that Pressdee admitted to intentionally giving them the incorrect dosages. Additionally, a nurse at Sunnyview reported that Pressdee had chastised her for being “gross” by taking extra care of the 43-year-old and speaking callously to the nurse about the patient after his death.
Overall, five patients died at Sunnyview while under Pressdee’s care.
Looking Into Unexpected Deaths
An investigation began through the attorney general’s office after tips came in about Pressdee from both the Pennsylvania Department of State and a family member of one of the patients who died at Quality Life Services.
There were three patients treated by Pressdee at Quality Life. One patient suffered a low blood sugar event and lived, and two patients died – all three victims’ lab results showed they’d received insulin shots.
It wasn’t until May 2023 that investigators arrived at Pressdee’s home in Natrona Heights. According to the investigators’ documents, Pressdee stated that two of the patients died naturally from blood sugar crashes and denied knowing anything about the third. However, once the investigators told her the patients were believed to have been injected with insulin, Pressdee admitted to giving them insulin.
Pressdee admitted to overdosing a total of 22 patients with insulin and is currently being held without bail at Butler County prison.
The Pennsylvania attorney’s office asks that anyone with information about the incidents or with knowledge of Pressdee’s actions contact the tipline at 888-538-8541.
Legal Help Is Available
If you or someone you know was harmed or killed due to Pressdee’s deplorable actions, contact our team at Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco. We treat everybody like family, and we have nearly a century of combined experience with cases like this. Don’t wait another day; our expert Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers are waiting to help.