Thursday, February 14, 2008

The John Ritter malpractice trial

---is underway and a spate of news reports offers some glimpses. I may comment and link from some of them later. For now I’ll just present excerpts from one of my commenters on an earlier post. It speaks well to the issue and requires little elaboration:

What we do know from the AP, is that the Defense attorneys will provide evidence that Ritter had failed an insurance exam 3 years prior to the incident for "incredibly abnormal" blood levels. Triglycerides were 7 times normal. He had evidence of plaque build-up. He was advised to see a cardiologist. He never did.For three years, Ritter repeatedly missed follow-up visits, did not get a cardiologist, worked long hours on the set and was decidedly overweight. When he became ill, he went to the ER.

Av overweight appearance would be deceptive in that it is not the body habitus one would typically see in patients at risk for dissection.

The commenter goes on:

In court yesterday, according to ABC news, the plaintiff's Cardiac Surgeon
(supposed unbiased expert)………

Upon cross examination, things became heated when it was revealed that the Expert had a conflict of interest. In fact, Ritter's wife, Amy Yasbeck, had spent time speaking at the Expert's symposium recently.The Cardiologist's Defense Attorney also quoted from this Expert's OWN book that stated, finding an aortic dissection was like looking for a "needle in a haystack" and that (essentially) in malpractice situations, physicians should be given the benefit of the doubt because they are so difficult to find and so easily mistaken for a heart attack.

Read the rest.

To the attorneys who commented with “measured responses” urging us to temper judgment, I would ask at what point you say “enough’s enough.” Is there any amount of damages that should trigger outrage?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Medical malpractice trials are a representation of our society's broken values. What will a settlement of 67 million do for the good of the Ritter family, for the good of society ? The Ritters have already received a monetary settlement..... I don't understand, if they truely believe the doctors made a sloppy error that cost Mr Ritter's life, then why not go after the physicians directly ? Go the medical board, but don't punish the rest of us by helping to increase medical costs for everyone by choosing the malpractice smash and grab.

I am a nurse. I am not qualified to comment on the medical side of this issue, I believe the best judges would be a group of peers, but I do think the hospital staff played a role in this tragedy. It was someone's responsibility to make sure that chest x ray was done, and the physician does not have the time to spare to hunt down x ray. Just my two cents.