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A Suffolk County jury recently found a doctor negligent after she allowed a college basketball player with a known heart murmur to play during a 2005 game in Worcester, MA. The jury awarded Antwoine Key’s parents, Tony and Angela Key, $2 million including $600,000 for their loss and $400,000 for pain and suffering.

Dr. Dorina R. Abdulah examed Antwoine, a then 22-year-old student at Eastern Connecticut State University, in 2001 to determine if he was medically eligible to play sports. During the exam, Dr. Abdulah found a “slight systolic murmur” in Antwoine’s heart, but signed a clearance form anyway stating that Antwoine was in “excellent health” and had no physical restrictions. However, on January 20, 2005 in a game against Worcester State College, Antwoine collapsed during the first quarter. He was immediately taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. Abdulah’s lawyers argued during the trial that she had ordered an electrocardiogram, but the exam never happened. Dr. Abulah’s lawyers contended that it was because Antwoine never showed up to his appointment; however, the jury found Dr. Abdulah negligent for failing to follow up with Antwoine, including never even telling Antwoine that she had scheduled the appointment to check his heart. Consequently, several other doctors after Dr. Abudlah’s initial exam relied on her original report to make their conclusions about the state of Antwoine’s physical health.


  1. Gravatar for Atty C. Bezis
    Atty C. Bezis

    These facts are almost all incorrect! Dr. Abdulah was not a "team doctor" at all. She was an internal medicine doctor who saw Antwoine in July 2001 at the Bowdoin Street Health Center, in her general group practice in Dorchester MA -four years before his death! She never cleared him for basketball- she merely filled out a health for for his registration at college. She had a question of a slight systolic murmur and gave him the opportunity to have an echocardiogram- not an ekg. It was so slight a murmur that there may have been none ( noone else ever had or ever did hear a murmur) and Harrison's "bible" of internal medicine says nothing more need be done - since these types of murmurs are usually benign.

    The real "Team" doctors at the college are the ones who "cleared" him for NCAA bassketball - they did so August 31, 2001, October 14, 2002 and October 2004. They had Dr. Abdulah's note in their records. They did followup medical examsof their own - obviously looking for heart problems - and they cleared him on their own. Doctor Abdulah did not cause any harm to this young man.

  2. Gravatar for Devon Glass
    Devon Glass

    Thank you C. Bezis for pointing out Dr. Abdulah was not a team doctor, we have updated our post to make it clear she was not affiliated with Antwoine's college basketball team. The other details are based upon the article's written in other news sources.

    I'm sure her attorney's argued someone else was at fault but the jury determined she was responsible. While you personally believe Dr. Abdulah was not responsible, the jury disagreed with your views when deciding their verdict.

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