Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado who treated 7-year-old Olivia Gant before she died in 2017 must provide additional information to attorneys ahead of the murder trial for Olivia’s mother, Kelly Turner, an 18th Judicial District Court judge ruled Tuesday.
Doctors and others who are expected to give expert testimony during the murder trial must provide written summaries that explain their observations of Olivia, treatment decisions and diagnoses, District Court Judge Patricia Herron decided, reiterating an order she’d already made because the initial information provided by doctors was not sufficient.
Turner is charged with first-degree murder in Olivia’s death. She is accused of pretending Olivia was sick and manipulating doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado into performing unnecessary medical procedures for years, until Olivia was discharged to hospice and died.
A Denver Post investigation this spring revealed that some doctors and nurses at the hospital suspected Olivia was being medically abused by her mother before the girl died, but the hospital did not report those concerns to the state’s Department of Human Services, despite Colorado’s mandated reporting laws.
Several of the doctors and other providers who the prosecution expects to call as expert witnesses in the case gave brief, sometimes vague interviews to prosecutors and have refused to talk at all with defense attorneys, public defender Emily Boehme wrote in a June court filing.
She argued that prosecutors’ summaries of those conversations failed to give defense attorneys enough information about what the doctors are expected to testify about in court.
Herron said she recognized that the doctors might be hesitant to cooperate with prosecutors — particularly because Children’s Hospital Colorado is facing a potential $25 million lawsuit from Olivia’s family over her treatment — but said more thorough summaries of expert testimony must be given to defense attorneys ahead of trial, which is scheduled for August but likely will be delayed because of this issue.
Such information is particularly important for the defense in this case, Boehme said in the June court filing, because doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado have refused to meet with defense attorneys. They have been “reluctant” to work with prosecutors as well, prior court proceedings have shown.
“After multiple attempts to reach out to counsel for the doctors in this case, it is present understanding that they are not presently willing (to) talk to defense counsel,” the filing reads.
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