After his death from a torn aorta in 2003, the widow and children of actor John Ritter filed a lawsuit against his cardiologist and radiologist for medical negligence. Radiologist Matthew Lotysch was cleared today of the claims that he had failed to spot an enlargement of the aorta in a body scan done in 2001 – two years prior to Ritter’s death. Additionally, Cardiologist Joseph Lee was cleared of claims of medical negligence for a faulty diagnosis.
The attorneys for Ritter’s family said they were seeking about $43 million in damages because of the loss of potential future earnings for John Ritter’s successful sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and other future roles. The family had already made settlements totaling $14 million with other medical personnel.
Defense testimony characterized the aortic dissection as lethal and contended that even with a surgery to repair the torn aorta the outcome would have been the same. The jury voted 9-3 in favor of the doctors.
Whether or not the doctors in this case were truly negligent, medical malpractice is far too common, and most innocent victims do not get the attention and fanfare that comes with celebrity status. It is important that people are not discouraged by this verdict, but rather informed about the prevalence and danger of negligence and malpractice in the medical realm. Ritter’s wife and children spoke up in this case – but so many voices remain unheard. Don’t let your emotional or physical injury or loss go unnoticed and unjustified. Contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately to discuss your rights.