Sunday, October 1, 2023

Accused of letting his almost paralyzed wife die without care

A Terrebonne man allegedly left his wife, who was nearly paralyzed after a stroke, to die under horrific circumstances by failing to provide basic care while she was malnourished, dehydrated, emaciated, and had poor personal hygiene.

Johanne Bilodeau was reportedly rushed to hospital in dire conditions on September 23, 2020. The 58-year-old woman died less than 24 hours later.

Her husband Bruno Turcotte, 61, is now charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to provide the necessary care to his wife, for whom he was responsible, in the weeks and months before her death. Her jury trial began this morning at the Laval courthouse.

His bones exposed

The woman’s body “had several significant pressure ulcers, some even exposed her bones. There were also other injuries, including holes in the ribcage,” explained Crown prosecutor Geneviève Aumond, during her inaugural presentation.

Accused Of Letting His Almost Paralyzed Wife Die Without Care

The victim died from septic shock caused by multiple infections, according to the prosecution’s theory.

“His injuries could have been treated and healed if the victim had received proper medical care and his basic needs such as feeding, hydration and washing had been met before his transport to the hospital, while at that point it was too late.” said Aumond, who teams up with Mmy Karine Dalphond.

A stroke nine years earlier had left Bilodeau with serious consequences. He needed significant daily care.

His left arm and leg were paralyzed, described his primary care physician, Dr.r Estefanía Sánchez. She couldn’t move, wash herself, change her incontinence pants, drink water or even feed herself.

Bruno Turcotte had decided to keep his wife of the last 20 years at home despite her condition, so he had to provide her with the essential things for life according to the Penal Code, Aumond to the jury, made up of eight women and four men.

Accused Of Letting His Almost Paralyzed Wife Die Without Care

Bruno Turcotte, 61, during his trial at the Laval courthouse. MARTIN ALARIE / THE DIARY OF

refusal of help

The Crown wishes to demonstrate during the trial that Turcotte repeatedly rejected the offer of additional services from the CISSS. Social worker Lise Fortin of Terrebonne CLSC also reported that she had difficulty contacting him for follow-up.

“I left him a lot of messages, but talking to him in person was not easy,” explained Lise Fortin.

As it was a “very serious” case, she had offered to help Bruno Turcotte with his partner’s hygiene care during a face-to-face meeting in July 2019, which he refused.

The trial presided over by Superior Court Judge Daniel W. Payette continues tomorrow.

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