MISE & Agrave; DAY
Two years after the start of a disturbing police investigation into the euthanasia murder of a patient, the suspected anesthesiologist has never been questioned and still faces no charges.
“It's a very long time,” reacts René Verret, a criminal lawyer and former spokesperson for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP). & nbsp;
On November 1, 2019, an 84-year-old patient, whose identity is protected, died at the Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval. & Nbsp;
Two nurses were “Shocked” and “upset” by the anesthesiologist's actions, according to legal documents obtained by The Journal . & Nbsp;
After reading an employee report, the Director of Professional Services, Dr Alain Turcotte, concluded that it appeared to be euthanasia. & nbsp;
A week later, the Laval Police Department (SPL) opened an investigation for murder and criminal negligence causing death. & Nbsp;
The patient had been operated on for abdominal pain. Finally, palliative treatment was chosen. However, the anesthesiologist allegedly injected him with strong drugs, and he died. 'man dies. & nbsp; & nbsp;
Deprived of his version
Two years later, several employees were met by the police, who never called the anesthesiologist. & Nbsp;
“Obviously, the latter [the anesthesiologist] could have exercised her right to remain silent. But by refraining from summoning her [the police] deprived themselves of the possibility of obtaining her version, ”we read in a judgment of the Superior Court rendered on November 25. & Nbsp;
Moreover, the anesthesiologist is making numerous requests – even to the Supreme Court – so that his identity is not published. She claims that this could harm her in a possible trial. & Nbsp;
To this day, her identity is still protected.
The other two doctors involved that night chose not to meet with the police because they are bound by “professional secrecy”. However, the police wanted to consult the investigation file of the Syndic of the College of Physicians of Quebec (CMQ). The court recently denied this access, and the SPL must return the sealed package to the College.
Police “could have done more”
According to Judge Hélène Di Salvo, the police “could have done more” in the investigation, including summoning the two witness doctors again, and obtaining expert advice. Moreover, the criminal liability of the three doctors is “not excluded” by the SPL, writes the judge. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
By email, the SPL replied that “the investigation is over.” It has been almost two years since the DPCP received the file, in February 2020. Since then, nothing has been announced, and we respond that there is “no public information” in this file.
As for the College of Physicians, it is written that the hearings are suspended “while the proceedings take place in other courts”. & nbsp;
Since December 2019, the doctor has stopped practice. & nbsp;
“Extremely long” delay & nbsp;
The coroner's report is still not public. According to lawyers, the case is dragging on. & Nbsp;
“This is an extremely long delay. […] It is true that the wheels of justice turn very slowly, reacts Patrick Martin-Ménard, lawyer specializing in health. But it is not uncommon for investigations to drag on. “& Nbsp; & nbsp;
However, Me Verret emphasizes that the DPCP must have all the information in a file before making a decision. & Nbsp;
“This is definitely a very complex case, there are high stakes and disputes, so that may explain the long delay. But that doesn't mean there won't be any charges, ”he says.
Disturbing death in the operating room & nbsp;
Here is a summary of the significant events surrounding the patient's death at Cité-de-la-Santé, Laval. The reported facts are taken from court documents filed in court.
“By the grace of God” & nbsp;
On October 31, 2019, the 84-year-old patient presented to hospital with stomach aches. He was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction that required surgery. & Nbsp;
Aware of the associated risks, the man did not want “therapeutic relentlessness, leaving it all to the grace of God.” He did not want cardiopulmonary resuscitation or emergency intubation
, we read. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
Towards a gentle death & nbsp;
At 2 a.m., the patient was taken to the operating room. After two hours, the surgeon discovered “necrosis in large segments of the small intestine.” The doctor left the room, and called the man's niece, who acts as the contact for medical decisions. Given the serious possible sequelae, palliative treatment was chosen. & Nbsp;
The surgeon then explained to the niece that his uncle would be transferred to intensive care, and that he would die “quietly”, between a few hours later and two days. & nbsp;
Back in the operating room, the surgeon closed the abdominal wall and explained to the anesthetist that “there is no expected survival of the patient given the damage to his digestive system”, reads- on. & nbsp;
He “has no family” & nbsp;
The anesthesiologist then called a doctor in intensive care and told him that the patient “has no family to support him in this process”. A nurse then intervened to say that he “has a daughter”, and “that it is wrong to claim that he has no family,” said a document. & Nbsp;
In response, the doctor “questions the usefulness of finding a room for the patient when he could be taken directly to the morgue”.
“Not the procedure” & nbsp ;
At around 4:45 a.m., the doctor gave the octogenarian three drugs and unplugged him from the ventilator. & nbsp;
“It shouldn't be long, a matter of a few minutes. », She would have commented. & Nbsp;
Two nurses, an attendant and a respiratory therapist were present. “Shocked”, the two nurses expressed their disagreement and “tell him that this is not the way to do it.”
However, the doctor would have ignored it, reads- on. & nbsp;
After 10 to 15 minutes of waiting, the patient was not yet dead. The doctor then reportedly said that the man “has a strong heart”, one reads. While waiting for the death, an employee even took steps to find a bed for the elder. & Nbsp;
In a meeting with the director of professional services (DSP), later, the doctor would have admitted that she was not the most experienced in the administration of palliative care, and that the doses “were larger than possibly desired”, indicates a document. & nbsp;
“It's your decision” & nbsp;
The doctor then called a colleague on the intercom so that he comes to complete the death certificate. He allegedly refused, replying, “I won't sign it, it's up to you,” it read. & Nbsp;
He will eventually sign it later. & Nbsp;
At 5.44 am, the man died, between 15 and 20 minutes after the injection. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
At 7 am, a member of his family came to the hospital. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
It appears to be “euthanasia” & nbsp;
Informed of the circumstances of the death by the nurses, the DSP and the president of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists (CMDP) contacted the College of Physicians. They received a notice that “it appears to be euthanasia”. & Nbsp;
On November 8, 2019, the anesthesiologist gave a different version from that of the nurses at the DSP, Dr Alain Turcotte, we read. She reportedly said that “for her part, it was palliative care and she was trying to provide relief to the patient.” & Nbsp;
In her medical report, the doctor wrote that there is a “joint decision of the three of us” (the doctors on duty that night) to “give palliative sedation.” A doctor denied having discussed the medication. & Nbsp;
November 11, 2019
The anesthesiologist allegedly offered to resign under certain conditions, including that of '' erase all traces of this event from the professional file. Dr. Turcotte refused and she resigned unconditionally. & Nbsp;
Following disciplinary proceedings before the College of Physicians of Quebec, the doctor has resigned, and can no longer practice.
The police investigation is complete, and the file has been transferred to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions. No decision has been announced. & Nbsp; & nbsp;
Other excerpts from the judgment & nbsp; & nbsp;
- < strong> “[The police] met all the people who were directly or indirectly involved in the victim's surgery, with the exception of the three doctors, and obtained several pieces of information from different sources. “ & nbsp;
- ” The DPCP raises that there are “gray areas” in the investigation since they did not meet the three doctors. Perhaps, but this is the reality of many criminal investigations when an accused invokes his right to silence. This file is no exception to the rule. “ & nbsp; & nbsp;
Source: Superior Court judgment (judge Hélène Di Salvo), November 25, 2021 & nbsp;