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YOUNGSTOWN Jury to decide hospital lawsuit



Published: Thu, September 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The twins' mother has been confined to a psychiatric facility since June 1998.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A jury now will decide whether doctors and nurses at Forum Health's Northside Medical Center are to blame for the deaths of 3-year-old Canfield Township twins in March 1997.

Testimony in a wrongful-death lawsuit against the hospital concluded this week and lawyers for both sides made their closing arguments to jurors Wednesday afternoon. The trial lasted some two weeks.

Judge Maureen A. Cronin dismissed the jurors for the evening, and they were to begin deliberating this morning.

The case centers on the deaths of Jonathan and Rebecca Giancola, twins who were drowned by their mother, Annette Giancola, in the bathtub at their home in Canfield Township.

Annette Giancola was charged with aggravated murder and found innocent by reason of insanity in June 1998. She has been confined to a psychiatric hospital since then.

Her former husband, John Giancola, 44, of Boardman, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Forum Health Northside Medical Center, alleging that doctors and nurses in the psychiatric unit failed to properly care for his then-wife.

What happened

During the trial, he testified that in mid-1996, Annette's behavior and demeanor began to change. She became lethargic, worried about nonexistent financial problems, suffered panic attacks and talked about committing suicide.

After consulting with a local psychiatrist, Giancola took Annette to Northside, where she was admitted for four days.

He said no one from the hospital gave him information about his wife's psychotic condition, said that it could recur, or told him what to do if it did come back.

Nurses from the hospital testified that they did give John Giancola that information.

John Giancola said he has not returned to the house, or driven down their street, since the day the children were drowned.

bjackson@vindy.com




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