Nurse who injected women with silicone, resulting in death of one, sentenced to 6 years in prison

A 44-year-old registered nurse from Vaughan who injected eight women with silicone and mineral oils between 2016 and 2017, causing the death of one of her victims, has been sentenced to six years in prison, a DNA order and a lifetime weapons ban.

Anna Yakubovsky-Rositsan was led away in handcuffs after Justice Michelle Fuerst handed down the sentence in a Newmarket courtroom, accepting the joint submission from Crown and defence, as one of her victims looked on from the gallery.

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It was April 18, 2017 when 23-year-old Chanel Steben went to the Vaughan home of Yakubovsky-Rositsan to have injections in her buttock, thinking she was being injected with PMMA, a synthetic substance that is not legal in Canada.

Steben had seen the registered nurse for about a year and believed the nurse was qualified to inject patients. Court exhibits showed Yakobovsky-Rositsan had a diploma on the wall of the room where she provided her procedures.

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Hours after Steben received the injections, she had a seizure and lay unconscious on the floor. Yakubovsky-Rositsan failed to call 911.

It was only an hour later, after she called her ex-husband to ask for help while Steben lay unconscious, that paramedics were called. Steben was rushed to hospital, where she later died.

She died from a lack of oxygen to the brain. The injection of mineral oil in her buttocks caused an embolism, which travelled to her lungs.

While Steben was fighting for her life in hospital, Yakubovsky-Rositsan cleaned up the room where she did medical procedures and was in the process of disposing of the medical equipment. Police were able to recover some of that evidence in her car.

Last August, Yakubovsky-Rositsan pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence causing death and seven counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Charges of aggravated assault and failure to provide the necessities of life were withdrawn.

In handing down her sentence,  Fuerst told the court that while Yakobovsky-Rositsan worked for a period of time for a plastic surgeon, her job ended in 2014.

She was not permitted to do cosmetic injections on her own and falsely reported to the College of Nurses of Ontario that she was working at a foot clinic.

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“She was aware as an RN she was not permitted to give injections without the supervision of a doctor. She injected them with substances bought on the black market, had no idea what it was, she suspected it was silicone but carried on using it.

“She lied to the victims about what it was she was injecting in her body, telling them it was PMAA, not approved in Canada but at least they knew it was being used in other jurisdictions. Financial gain was a motivation for her conduct.

“She did not call the police for hours, notwithstanding that a young woman was unconscious, her life was at risk and she tried to conceal evidence,” Fuerst said about the aggravating circumstances.

The judge said the mitigating circumstances were the guilty plea and the fact that Yakubovsky-Rositsan is a first-time offender, but said general deterrence is paramount.

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“Her conduct was completely at odds with the standards put out by the College of Nurses. Her behaviour was frankly shocking for a health-care professional. A substantial penitentiary sentence is required,” said Fuerst.

The mother of three read a tearful apology at her sentencing hearing Monday, admitting she was naive.

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“I did not know or understand at the time, the harm that my work would cause.”

The judge sentenced Yakubovsky-Rositsan to six years for criminal negligence causing death and five years for each of the seven counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, to be served concurrently. Yakobovsky-Rositsan was given 32 days credit for pre-trial custody.

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