Doctor fined for ethical violation in Turner case
A Canadian psychiatrist was fined $10,000 Friday after he was found guilty of professional misconduct involving the late Dr. Shirley Turner, who was wanted in Pennsylvania for killing a Latrobe Area Hospital physician in 2001.
Dr. John Doucet, of Newfoundland, also was ordered to undergo psychiatric counseling by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The peer group ruled he violated doctor-patient ethics by posting Turner's $65,000 bail at the time he was treating her as a patient.
Rather than return to Westmoreland County to face trial for the murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby, Turner plunged into the ocean, drowning herself and her 13-month-old son, Zachary Bagby. Andrew Bagby was Turner's boyfriend at one time and Zachary's father.
Turner had waged a legal battle to avoid extradition and was facing imminent deportation when she killed herself and her son.
Kathleen Bagby, of Sunnyvale, Calif., said Friday that she and her husband, David, are pleased with the decision.
"All we wanted was a statement that this was wrong," she said. "It should be obvious to most professionals that this was wrong. I see him as very much responsible for my grandchild's death."
Doucet was found guilty of misconduct last month after the College of Physicians and Surgeons ruled that he should not have posted her bail while he was treating Turner. He saw her 21 times, according to news accounts.
After Pennsylvania State Police issued a warrant for Turner's arrest, she fled to Newfoundland where she held citizenship. She had been practicing medicine in Iowa and had returned from a visit with Bagby when she was charged with shooting him five times at Keystone State Park in Derry Township.
By tracing cell phone records between Pennsylvania and Iowa, investigators determined that after visiting Bagby, Turner flew back to Iowa and then immediately returned to Latrobe to confront him over problems in their relationship.
In 2002, the Newfoundland Supreme Court ordered Turner extradited, but she was released on bail pending further appeals. Before she was placed on bail, she had begun seeing Doucet as a patient and complained that while she was in jail could not see her son and could not find anyone else willing to post her bail.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons said Doucet's action to post her bail constituted a violation of the doctor-patient relationship.
Doucet said at a hearing that he had known Turner since she was a medical student and he "acted out of a genuine concern for my patient's well-being, which was my only motive," according to the Canadian Press Association.
Doucet told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he was "disappointed in the decision (and) the verdict."