Closing arguments expected this week in Ontario nurses manslaughter trial

first_imgBARRIE, Ont. – Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of an Ontario nurse who took a woman off life support without a doctor’s order, with jurors set to begin their deliberations next week.A scheduled hearing in the trial of Joanna Flynn was postponed Tuesday for undisclosed reasons.Flynn, whose lawyers are expected to make their closing statements first, is also charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with the events of March 2, 2014.Flynn was working in the intensive care unit of Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland, Ont., that night and acted as Deanna Leblanc’s primary care nurse.Leblanc had no vital signs when she was brought in by ambulance early that morning, just two days after undergoing knee surgery.Court heard she was resuscitated several times in the emergency room, then transferred to the intensive care unit after her pulse stabilized. Sixteen hours later, she was dead.Prosecutors argue Flynn overstepped her duties and made a decision that should have been left to a physician. They also allege she pressured Leblanc’s husband, Michael Leblanc, into giving his consent to end life support.“There is no issue that Ms. Flynn removed Deanna Leblanc from life support, there is no issue that she did so without a doctor’s order, finally there is no issue that the removal from life support hastened her death,” Crown attorney Sarah Tarcza told the court in her opening statement.“The issue is whether she committed an unlawful act causing Deanna Leblanc’s death. The Crown’s position is that she did.”Tarcza told the court that Flynn was the one who first brought up the possibility of turning off the machines, even though Michael Leblanc had just spoken to a doctor.Flynn told him that his wife was “basically braindead” and “already gone,” leaving him with the impression that her heart would explode if they didn’t turn off the machines, the prosecutor said.It was under those circumstances that he agreed, she said.An emergency room doctor who treated Deanna Leblanc testified she had no pulse or blood pressure on arrival, and wasn’t breathing, moving or speaking.Dr. Gert Van Rooyen said he told Michael Leblanc his wife was on a ventilator, and that medical staff were keeping her heart going with medication.Van Rooyen said he didn’t sugarcoat the situation and told the man he didn’t think his wife would recover.When it was suggested that just a few hours after Deanna Leblanc’s arrival, Van Rooyen had no expectation that she would live, the doctor replied: “I agree.”He testified that though it wasn’t written in Leblanc’s medical chart that she was braindead, that must have been an oversight because he considered her to be so.Flynn also testified at the trial, as did relatives of Leblanc and several doctors and experts.last_img read more