In an “unprecedented” move, Midland police have charged a former nurse at Georgian Bay General Hospital with manslaughter for allegedly cutting off a patient’s life support without authorization.
Joanna Flynn, 50, is also charged with criminal negligence causing death, and was arrested on Thursday, Midland police announced.
The alleged victim, Deanna Leblanc, was 39. Police declined to name her, but Leblanc’s widower Michael Leblanc confirmed her identity to the Star. She died at the hospital on March 2, 2014.
Leblanc’s case seems to be unusual in several ways. Her widower says she spent less than 24 hours in hospital, for example. And as Handelman noted, it is typically a doctor, not a nurse, who ends life support, as Flynn is alleged to have done.
“If anything, it may bring home to health practitioners the importance of getting proper consent to terminate treatment,” Handelman said. (gee, ya think!?)
Michael Leblanc said he didn’t know how to feel on hearing that charges had been laid.
“I want it to be over,” he said. “It’s just me and my two boys without her, and it’s a s***y situation, to tell you the truth.”
Thirty-six hours before being sent to Georgian Bay General, Deanne Leblanc was in Newmarket for a knee scope, her widower said.
“It took about half an hour.”
At 3 a.m. on March 2, back home in Midland, “all hell broke loose.” Deanne, a salesperson at a local furniture store, woke up in a panic.
“She told me she was dying and to help her, and call 911,” Michael said.
“Then she ended up in the hospital, and she ended up on life support, and …”
“I can’t say anything about that,” he replied, when asked if he authorized the removal of his wife’s life support.
Does the word “unprecedented” have some kind of other usage in Canada? That leads me to believe that this might actually be commonplace?