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article imageNurse not guilty of manslaughter after shutting off life support

By Arthur Weinreb     Jun 10, 2017 in Crime
Barrie - An Ontario nurse was acquitted of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death after she took a woman off life support without the consent of a doctor. The woman’s husband testified he was pressured into consenting to have the life support removed
On Thursday, after deliberating for two days a Barrie, Ontario jury found Joanna Flynn not guilty of the two charges against her. Flynn was charged after she had shut down life support of one of her patients, 38-year-old Deanna Leblanc.
On Apr. 30, 2014, Leblanc underwent knee surgery at a hospital in Newmarket. Two days later she suffered from complications and was rushed to a hospital in Midland. While there she suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated several times. The mother of two ended up on life support in intensive care. That evening Flynn shut down her life support and Leblanc died shortly thereafter.
The prosecutor argued Flynn took Leblanc off life support without the consent of a doctor. The Crown also argued the deceased’s husband, Mike Leblanc, was coerced into giving consent and at the time, they discussed the matter for only five minutes. Prosecutor Bhavna Bhangnu told the jury Flynn removed the life support due to her “over-inflated sense of arrogance.”
Dr. Josef Dolezel, the doctor in charge, testified he had told Flynn to wait until the next day and was “dumbfounded” when he heard what Flynn had done. Flynn’s lawyer argued, obviously successfully, that not getting the doctor’s permission may be wrong and render her client civilly liable but it was not a crime.
Flynn testified in her own defense and admitted she did not have permission from a doctor to remove the life support. As to consent, the nurse testified the dead woman’s husband was insistent his wife be taken off life support and as a result, Flynn was just doing what she was legally obligated to do. She said she asked the husband several times if he wanted time to think about it but he kept saying he wanted it done. But Mike Leblanc told the jury a completely different story.
According to Leblanc, Flynn told him his wife was brain dead and if he did not consent to having life support removed, her heart would burst or explode. He testified he was not in his right mind and felt pressured into giving consent. He believed he did not really have a choice; he could let his wife’s heart explode or allow her to die peacefully.
Civil lawsuits involving Deanna Leblanc's death are currently ongoing.
More about Manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, Life support, civil lawsuit, Nurse
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