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Canada Nurse given 5-month suspension after removing patient from life support without doctor’s authorization

12:50  28 november  2017
12:50  28 november  2017 Source:   thestar.com

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A nurse who removed a patient from life support without a doctor ’ s authorization pleaded guilty on Monday at a disciplinary hearing, which ordered her certificate of registration as a nurse be suspended for five months .

Nurse given 5 - month suspension after removing patient from life support without doctor ’ s authorization . – Related articles from other sources. © Alyshah Hasham Joanna Flynn walks into the Barrie courthouse during jury deliberations for her trial on charges of manslaughter and criminal


Joanna Flynn walks into the Barrie courthouse during jury deliberations for her trial on charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. She is accused of taking patient Deanna Leblanc off life support without her substitute decision-maker's consent. Uploaded external by: hasham, Alyshah© Alyshah Hasham Joanna Flynn walks into the Barrie courthouse during jury deliberations for her trial on charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. She is accused of taking patient Deanna Leblanc off life support without her substitute decision-maker's consent. Uploaded external by: hasham, Alyshah

A nurse who removed a patient from life support without a doctor’s authorization pleaded guilty on Monday at a disciplinary hearing, which ordered her certificate of registration as a nurse be suspended for five months.

Joanna Flynn, who had been found not guilty of manslaughter and criminal negligence in a criminal court this summer, was before the Ontario College of Nurses tribunal Monday morning, where she pleaded guilty to two of four charges.

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"The doctors told me that the vast majority of people who go through these treatments maintain most of a normal routine," LeBlanc said. See also: Family, friends identify two people missing after plane disappears en route to Edmonton. Nurse given 5 - month suspension after removing patient from

Flynn admitted she removed Deanna Leblanc from life support without the required medical authorization and for failing to record that the responsible physician had not given medical authorization to discontinue life support. She admitted that her conduct was dishonorable and unprofessional.

The disciplinary panel ordered that along with the five month suspension, Flynn had to follow the terms, conditions and limitations imposed by the hearing, including meeting with a nursing expert and informing her employers of the hearing’s decision for a period of 24 months.

“Joanna Flynn wanted to thank her nursing colleagues for all the support and she is now putting this behind her and moving forward,” her lawyer, Kate Hughes, said after the hearing on Monday.

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Hughes said two allegations were dropped because of the lack of evidence available to prove them, one related to falsifying information and the other involved the lack of consent from a subsequent decision maker.

The incident occurred while Flynn was a nurse at Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland, Ont.

On the morning of March 2, 2014, Leblanc, 39, awoke to crushing chest pain. She had undergone knee surgery on February 28 but was otherwise healthy. She was admitted to the hospital where it took two and a half hours to resuscitate her though she remained unresponsive.

In the agreed statement of facts, the doctor noted that the patient was admitted to the hospital totally unresponsive, that her pupils were equal dilated and not responding to light.

A doctor also explained to the patient’s family, that the absence of brain activity meant the patient had a poor prognosis, according to the statement.

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Nurse given 5 - month suspension after removing patient from life support without doctor ’ s authorization . – Related articles from other sources.

In March 2014,Ontario nurse Joanna Flynn took Deanna Leblanc off life support . While the family supported that plan, Flynn did not have physician authorization . This week, the Ontario College of Nurses ordered Flynn’ s certificate of registration as a nurse be suspended for five months .

According to the agreed statement of facts, the patient’s husband and substitute decision-maker, thought his wife would want him to discontinue life support and he wanted to end Leblanc’s life support that night.

Flynn spoke to a doctor twice about the family’s wishes. Both times the doctor said he wanted to wait until the next day to make a decision, according to the statement.

Despite the doctor’s orders, with the husband in the room, Flynn turned off the patient’s life support machines. She stayed with the husband until Leblanc died. Her employment was terminated by the hospital five days after the incident.

A year later, Flynn was charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. In June, a jury found her not guilty on both counts.

The decision on Flynn’s suspension may have rested on the specifics of the situation, said Toronto criminal lawyer Jordan Donich.

Donich was not involved with Flynn’s case and spoke on background.

“The nurse chose to proceed with the authority of the subsequent decision maker without meeting the bureaucratic authority and that’s why she was facing misconduct,” Donich said. “But if we look at this contextually, she wasn’t acting maliciously.”

Donich said the nurse was in a stressful situation where she was trying to respect the family’s wishes and deal with the doctor’s decision.

“Just because the bureaucracy essentially didn’t allow it to be done at that point in time,” he said. “Doesn’t mean that this person’s career should be ended forever and that’s the basis of the decision here you have to look at.”

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