Saturday, March 15, 2008

John Ritter Malpractice Claim Settled In Part, Tried In Part! Doctors Lee and Lotysch Vindicated ~ Legal Pub


Many of us grew up watching John Ritter in Threes Company. It is almost hard to imagine a juror not knowing the popular deceased actor. In a recent medial malpractice trial, John Ritter Estate's lawyer argued that doctors Matthew Lotysch and Joseph Lee who treated John Ritter the night of his death "clearly" committed malpractice by failing to order a chest X-ray and instead using "incorrect treatments" that led to his death. Images Video


Defense attorneys argued that the actor's death could not have been prevented, and their clients treatment was within the standard of care. Plaintiff's attorney Moses Lebovits accused Dr. Joseph Lee of making several mistakes on the night of Sept. 11, 2003, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in closing argument. Ritter had become ill on the set of the sit-com "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter." He was taken to Providence Saint Joseph's across the street from the Burbank studio complaining of chest pain, nausea and dizziness. Ritter is survived by his widow Amy Yasbeck and his daughter Stella as well as his children from his first marriage to Nancy Morgan: Carly, Tyler, and 27-year-old Jason.

Civil suit was filed Sept. 3, 2004, against Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, the Burbank Emergency Medical Group and several doctors. The recent Glendale Superior Court trial death with the claim against radiologist Matthew Lotysch -- who allegedly failed to detect the actor's enlarged aorta and Lee who subsequently treated Ritter. Plaintiff's counsel argued that,
"It only takes common sense to know that they should have taken a chest X-ray." Counsel also argued that Lee should have gotten a more complete medical history about Ritter and the severity of his chest pain. Lee wound up using an intra-aortic balloon pump, which Plaintiff's counsel called "absolutely the wrong treatment."
Ritter apparently had a large ascending aortic aneurysm with a severe dissection and died shortly after the procedure. Lawyers for the two doctors countered that proper procedures were followed. Stephen Fraser, attorney for Lotysch, argued that the plaintiffs' expert witnesses used "flawed science." A chest X-ray had allegedly been ordered on Ritter before Lee even arrived at the hospital and Dr. Lee had no reason to believe the X-ray hadn't been done.

Fraser concluded final argument by asking the jury to "imagine if all the resources that were expended in this trial were spent on trying to cure aortic disease. A lot of good could have been done." Outside court, Fraser told reporters that Ritter had a rare condition that was going to be fatal no matter what was done. "The reality is Mr. Ritter had an extraordinarily rare presentation of a very rare disease and there was nothing that could have been done differently," he said. He also argued that the amount of money sought by the family would be "catastrophic" for the doctors.


Prior to this trial, the Ritter family had already received more than $14 million in settlements, including $9.4 million from the hospital where Ritter died, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At the conclusion of deliberation on Thursday, their was no verdict. On Friday, the jury returned a verdict in favor of both doctors and justice was served in show biz fashion.
Update: Great story from Ms. Calabaza at http://pumpkinseedsandcontradictions.blogspot.com/ concerning her famous brother and his rise to success following the American Dream. I encourage all to read it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! The coverage of the Ritter malpractice trial is almost as good as your Charlie Weiss malpractice trial coverage. You make it so easy to understand that I think even I could be a lawyer or at least a juror.

Bobbi

Legal Pub said...

Great story from Ms. Calabaza at

http://pumpkinseedsandcontradictions.blogspot.com/

about her famous brother and his rise to success following the American Dream. I encourage all to read it.

Anonymous said...

Good summary of Ritter case.

Viper said...

One man's justice is anothers misjustice.

Ms Calabaza said...

Thanks LP for the link. I'm flattered by your kindness.

Anonymous said...

Good read Ms. C.

Anonymous said...

John R.I.P. Your family will do fine on their settlements and your royalties. They did not need any more money. :)

Legal Pub said...

Seems to me that the jury did a great job.

Anonymous said...

Sitting on the edge looking out is the best view of this case.

Anonymous said...

Fair coverage...

Your Secret L.A. Reader said...

John was a good guy and a good actor. I can't see him really wanting to hurt his doctors. The settlement portion seems fair and the poor doctors were just trying to do their job.

Condolences to the family.

Your Secret L.A. Reader

Anonymous said...

Ritter was bigger than life. He is truly missed

Gaynor said...

I miss John Ritter incredibly. His wife Amy Yasbeck gave an interview to the Pop Speaking blog about the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health. It's the best we can do to support it http://www.popspeaking.blogspot.com/2013/11/amy-yasbeck-chats-to-us-about-john.html