Attorney Celine Boyle of Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. gave an opening statement before a Franklin
County jury in a civil trial against Dr. Larry Labul, a Farmington physician,
and Franklin Memorial Hospital. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges
that both parties were negligent in the care of 84-year-old Maxine Turner,
who died back in 2011 after complications from pneumonia in conjunction
with obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and other
conditions. Kelly Smith, Turner’s granddaughter and the personal
representative of her estate, holds Dr. Labul and the hospital responsible
for failing to meet the appropriate standard of care in the treatment
of her grandmother.
The lawsuit claims that in treating Turner, Labul failed to consider pneumonia
in his diagnosis, and that he discharged her from the hospital to a nursing
facility before her breathing was stabilized. This error, Boyle and Smith
claim, led to her death only three hours later.
Turner’s family took an active part in her medical care as she got
older so that they could help her maintain her independence and avoid
a nursing home. She received regular calls and visits while at home to
ensure that she was appropriately cared for.
In early 2011, Turner began exhibiting unusual symptoms of constant sleepiness,
and was admitted to the hospital after a fall accident that occurred after
falling asleep in her chair. Dr. Stephen Zanella recommended that she
receive 24-hour care, and the family complied with his advice.
Not long after, Turner began exhibiting difficulty with her breathing.
After speaking with Turner’s primary care doctor, her family was
advised to take her to the hospital to see Labul. After reading her medical
records, Labul decided to treat her only for pulmonary disease and did
not consider that pneumonia could have been a factor in her illness. He
recommended that she be placed in a nursing facility. When Turner was
discharged, she was still having difficulty breathing and had been hallucinating.
Smith never received answers about whether her grandmother had pneumonia
or why she kept falling asleep.
Labul’s attorneys contend that he acted appropriately and that he
used his training and experience to determine the best course of treatment.
The trial, which is being held at the Franklin County Superior Court, is
expected to last five days and is expected to conclude on Monday, December
7. Read more about this case via the