The doctors and experts who treated a 7-year-old girl before she died could be subpoenaed to respond to the court if they do not cooperate with the legal process as the girl’s mother, accused of faking her daughter’s illness, goes on trial for murder this summer.
Prosecutor Valerie Brewster said during a hearing Wednesday that she hoped not to have to resort to subpoenas as she asked 18th Judicial District Court Judge Patrica Herron for more time to secure statements from the experts who treated Olivia Gant at Children’s Hospital Colorado before she died in 2017.
The girl’s mother, Kelly Turner, 42, appeared for the hearing in custody from the Douglas County jail. She is charged with first-degree murder and accused of falsely portraying Olivia as sick for years. Turner is accused of seeking unnecessary medical treatment for Olivia, lying about her condition and eventually requesting that the girl’s feeding tube be removed and she be placed in hospice care, where she died.
The prosecution alleges that Olivia was not terminally ill, and that she could have lived but for her mother’s actions.
At least 11 doctors treated Olivia for various purported problems over the course of at least four years, according to an indictment against Turner.
Turner’s defense attorneys on Wednesday objected to the prosecution’s request for more time to obtain the statements.
“It doesn’t seem like these doctors are being cooperative,” public defender Ara Ohanian. “So if they’re not going to give a statement, they’re not going to give a statement — and we need to litigate that issue.”
Brewster said that the attorneys she’s been in contact with have indicated the doctors and experts will cooperate, but said she is not sure if the experts have also retained separate counsel.
Herron agreed to give prosecutors until May 21 to secure the statements.
“I understand that doctors are busy, I also understand they are reluctant, and particularly under these circumstances, they can be reluctant,” she said. “But I am not opposed to having them appear and explain what is going on. I think that’s fair for both sides. I think it’s important to any case that we get whatever information is available.”
If the experts do not meet the May 21 deadline, Herron and the attorneys said they would consider additional actions, like issuing subpoenas, at a May 26 hearing.
Attorney Hollynd Hoskins, who represents Olivia’s surviving siblings and grandparents, said they want the doctors to cooperate with the criminal case.
“Today in the hearing, the victims were incredibly disappointed to learn that the hospitals’ doctors or employees are not fully cooperating with the prosecution and are reluctant to tell the truth about what really happened to Olivia,” she said. “It’s really important to the victims that the whole truth comes out.”
Turner, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 30.
Spokespeople for Colorado Children’s Hospital did not immediately return requests for comment Wednesday.
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