FARMINGTON — A Franklin County jury found Dr. Larry Labul and Franklin Memorial Hospital not negligent in the care and death of a patient who was treated in 2011 at the hospital.

Monday’s decision culminated a five-day civil trial brought by the estate of the deceased patient, Maxine Turner, 84, of Jay, who died Feb. 11, 2011, three hours after she was discharged from the hospital. Based on medical record evidence presented at the trial and witness testimony, the jury found Labul and FMH not negligent in caring for Turner during her four-day stay at the hospital, and therefore not responsible for any damages sought by her estate.

“This was a very difficult loss for the family,” attorney Ceyline Boyle, who represented the estate of Turner, said Tuesday. “And when I say difficult loss, I mean the loss of their grandmother.”

Boyle declined to comment further on the case.

The initial complaint in the civil suit was filed in October 2014 by Turner’s granddaughter, Kelly Smith, the personal representative of Turner’s estate. The complaint alleged that both Labul and Franklin Memorial acted negligently in the care of Turner during her hospitalization.

The complaint also alleged that “because Maxine Turner experienced conscious pain and suffering prior to her death as result of the negligence of defendant Labul, her estate is entitled to damages for her conscious pain and suffering.”

On Feb. 8, 2011, Smith took Turner to Franklin Memorial after she had begun experiencing difficulty breathing. From Feb. 8 to 11, Labul was Turner’s treating physician. Labul order a chest x-ray, a CBC, an EKG and a CAT scan upon Turner’s admittance.

The complaint filed alleged that Labul did not consider pneumonia in his diagnosis of Turner — contrary to what Turner’s primary physician, in telephone conversation with Smith before Turner was admitted to the hospital, might happen.

However, witnesses at the trial and records kept by Labul and the hospital verified that he had checked Turner for pneumonia. According to the defense, Labul had begun treating Turner for pneumonia but discontinued the treatment when test results determined she was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The initial complaint alleged that Turner never suffered from COPD, but medical records shown at the trial indicated that at times in her medical history Turner suffered from COPD and at other times she did not.

“The records that the hospital and (Labul) kept supported his testimony,” said attorney Dan Rapaport, who represented Labul and FMH. “The evidence established Dr. Labul is a caring, concerned and confident physician,”

Aside from COPD, medical records showed that Turner also suffered from emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

During Turner’s 2011 hospitalization, Labul monitored her oxygen levels and breathing before deciding to discharge her on Feb. 11 to a nursing home. Smith was told that Turner did not qualify for an ambulance and she was taken later that day by a family member to Orchard Park Rehabilitation and Living Center in Farmington.

Turner was found unresponsive at Orchard Park on the evening of Feb. 11 and was pronounced dead about 7:25 p.m.

No autopsy was done on Turner. The estate has the option to appeal the jury’s decision.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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