Ottawa

Medications used for COVID-19 patients part of murder investigation into Dr. Brian Nadler

Medications used to treat COVID-19 patients at an eastern Ontario hospital are part of the murder investigation into Dr. Brian Nadler, CBC News has learned.

Dr. Brian Nadler charged with 1st-degree murder in death of 89-year-old patient

Dr. Brian Nadler, a physician at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital in eastern Ontario, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of patient Albert Poidinger, 89. (Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta)

Medications used to treat COVID-19 patients at an eastern Ontario hospital are part of the murder investigation into Dr. Brian Nadler, CBC News has learned.

Nadler, a physician at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of patient Albert Poidinger, 89.  

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has said they are waiting for the results of post-mortem investigations into several other people who died at the hospital recently.

An OPP spokesperson has described the deaths as "potentially suspicious."

The OPP has not confirmed whether Poidinger was one of Nadler's patients nor whether he has links to other patients.

However, sources familiar with the investigation have confirmed a report in the Ottawa Citizen that police are looking at at least five COVID-19 patients who died at the hospital between March 17 and 25. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 

A person enters the hospital in Hawkesbury, Ont., on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Nadler, 35, was arrested at the hospital last week. Those same sources told CBC News police were responding to a call that day from a whistleblower at the hospital. 

He appeared in court remotely on Friday.

Nadler's lawyer, Alan Brass, says his client maintains his innocence.

On Thursday, prior to Nadler's arrest, the hospital reported a large outbreak of COVID-19, the second in just a week, involving 16 patients and five staff members testing positive, and five deaths. 

The death toll contrasts with the number of COVID-19 fatalities reported by the United Counties of Prescott Russell — a region within the Eastern Ontario Health Unit — which reported a single death in January, and two in February. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons is also investigating Nadler, and has suspended his licence 

Nadler had just begun working at the hospital in 2020, and was under a restricted licence, which meant he remained under the supervision of another doctor for a year until Feb. 3, 2021, CBC News has learned. 

According to the terms of the restriction, the supervising doctor was expected to inform the college "of any concerns regarding Dr. Nadler's knowledge, skill, judgment or attitude."

The college says it will not provide details about the licence restriction, adding in a statement to CBC: "There are a number of circumstances in which the College might require a clinical supervisor. Considerations would include a physician's education and training, practice history including in other jurisdictions, and whether the physician has been in continuous practice or has not practiced for an extended period of time."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda Pfeffer has worked for the CBC across the country, including Montreal, Vancouver, Fredericton, Quebec City and Ottawa. She welcomes story ideas and tips at amanda.pfeffer@cbc.ca.

With files from Radio-Canada's Denis Babin

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