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Jury Finds Doctors Not Negligent In Treatment of John Ritter

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A jury in California returned a verdict in favor of two doctors, a radiologist and cardiologist, who provided treatment to John Ritter prior to his death. John Ritter died in 2003 following a torn aorta while filming a television show.

The lawsuit alleged the torn aorta should have been discovered prior to his death during a radiological exam. Additionally, a claim was made against the cardiologist for misdiagnosing Mr. Ritter with a heart attack, rather than a torn aorta.

The radiologist testified he instructed Mr. Ritter to seek additional medical treatment following an examination two years before his death. Mr. Ritter did not follow up on this suggestion. Regardless, the jury determined the failure to follow up as instructed did not lead to Mr. Ritter’s death.

The claim against the cardiologist related to the failure to secure a chest x-ray that would have discovered the torn aorta. The medical records indicate an x-ray was ordered, but it was never taken. Mr. Ritter’s family alleged the x-ray would have found the torn aorta, which would have lead to emergency surgery. Testimony presented indicated the torn aorta was lethal and surgery would not have saved Mr. Ritter’s life.

In the end, the jury determined both doctors were not negligent in their respective treatments of Mr. Ritter. The family had already received compensation from the hospital and other medical providers in the amount of $14 million dollars prior to this jury verdict.