It was reported today (March 14, 2008) that two doctors accused of negligence in the death of beloved actor John Ritter have been cleared of all charges by a Glendale, Calif., jury. The physicians, a cardiologist and a radiologist, were under fire in the diagnosis and treatment of the actor, who died of a torn aorta in 2003.
The jury found that the radiologist, Dr. Matthew Lotysch, detected signs of heart disease and recommended that Ritter follow up with his physician, which Ritter did not do. The jury believed the doctor’s testimony that those initial scans did not show the enlarged aorta, but simply indicated the possibility of heart disease.
In the case of the cardiologist, Ritter’s family, who brought the suit against the doctors, said that Dr. Joseph Lee was negligent his treatment of the actor when he arrived at the Providence St. Joseph emergency room with chest pain. The jury determined that the doctors did everything they could to save Ritter’s life.
Doctors treated Ritter for a heart attack, not discovering the pre-existing condition of an aortic dissection until after he died.
The civil verdict ends a month-long multimillion dollar lawsuit.