Settlement Reached in John Ritter Suit

Full story: SF Gate 95
The family of late actor John Ritter has reached a tentative settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against Providence St. Full Story
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concerned

New Milford, NJ

#81 Jun 6, 2008
Ok..if proper screening was not done ,and a death occurs...what do you do...just let it go....when it happens to one of your love ones...you will know what we are talking about....
Third Party

Grand Rapids, MI

#82 Jun 6, 2008
concerned wrote:
Ok..if proper screening was not done ,and a death occurs...what do you do...just let it go....when it happens to one of your love ones...you will know what we are talking about....
It has happened to one of my loved ones. Trust me there is nothing that you can do to make the pain go away. Suing your doctor isn't going to make you feel better over the long course. We did not sue because of this.

Let me ask you this, what diseases do you think doctors should screen people for? There are literally 1000's of known diseases that can be fatal. Do you think that it is possible to screen for all of them? If doctors screen for aortic aneurysms and dissections then shouldn't they screen for pancreatic cancer, malignant gliomas, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis,Renal cell carcinoma, etc? The reason they don't is it isn't practical, it's nearly impossible and there isn't an insurance company in the world that would pay for it all. Even now insurance companies are reluctant to pay for the screenings and diagnostic exams that do go on today. Are you going to pay for what insurance doesn't cover?
Also, all of these screening tests are not without their own complications. Consider the amount of radiation a person would receive if he were screened for all the potentially fatal diseases. Consider the potential complications that happen during these screening exams. If a patient dies from a previously undiagnosed allergic reaction to intravenous contrast used for CT scans should we sue the hospital because they didn't screen for all the things that a patient could be allergic to?

If a doctor did something wrong because he did not follow the standard of care then yes he should be punished. But if he made a mistake then consider him a human being. For all the people who are so quick to jump on the "let's-sue-doctors" bandwagon I challenge any of you who think that it is possible to never make a mistake to go to medical school and prove it.

One more thing: How was the amount of lost wages for the Ritter case determined? How does anyone know how long Mr. Ritter would have lived and how much money he would have been making during that time? How do you know he wouldn't have died in a car accident the next day?

Excellent comments by D Wang. I agree with you 100%
concerned

New Milford, NJ

#83 Jun 10, 2008
What if 4 months prior to death, the person is hospitalized for 4 days complaining of pulsations in the stomache area...this is a person over 60 with high blood pressure.....no sonogram performed...diagnoss is a UTI.....and a clean bill of health given.....would'nt that anger you in the least bit.....
Rusty

Grand Rapids, MI

#85 Jun 16, 2008
concerned wrote:
What if 4 months prior to death, the person is hospitalized for 4 days complaining of pulsations in the stomache area...this is a person over 60 with high blood pressure.....no sonogram performed...diagnoss is a UTI.....and a clean bill of health given.....would'nt that anger you in the least bit.....
Based on what you have written, that scenario should incite anger.

There seems to be some confusion with terminology being used in this forum. "Screening" in the medical field and to insurance companies means performing a test when the patient has no symptoms - it is looking for something before the patient even feels anything is wrong. That is what Third Party is referring to. A test performed when a patient is having symptoms is a "diagnostic" study - that is what should be done when the patient comes to the ER with pain, etc.
Common Sense

Saint Louis, MO

#86 Jun 28, 2008
Well, interesting comments. Third party, I like what you have to say. The standard of care is not absolute, and really varies according to that regions practice.
Suing for an untoward outcome is ridiculous. I had a family member who had a high C spine injury unrecognized initially when she came to the ER following a fall. She subsequently passed away, with me and other famliy members at the bedside, but up to that point had lived a full life and had for sometime been infirm from various medical complications. Did we pursue litigation? Not at all. In the overall care of her, which I might add was excellent, there was no true dereliction of duty on the part of the physicians, and therefore no malpractice in my book. Did they make a mistake? Probably. Realize that in the US alone, we are caring for an ever larger and sicker patient population with more limited resources. ERs are extremely busy and overtaxed hospital resources, and the practioners in these environments really deserved a pat on their backs. In my experience, true malpractice rarely happens, and most litigation is for an untoward outcome.
In addition, I was raised by my famliy to work hard, be honest and not to rely on other people's money or financial windfalls such as insurance payments. Perhaps this had to do with our neighbor who tried burning down his garage when I was a child. Love the integrity. I am not going to finish my time on this earth as a dishonest bottom feeder who climbed up in society by suing others and gaming insurance companies. No thanks.

Physicians don't donate 15 years of their lives for money, but for the privilege of caring for patients, which demands a significant amount of study and training, and rigorous testing to validate this -- i.e. board certification. Don't even think for one moment otherwise -- it is extraordinarily rigorous to become a physician, and there are plently of other career paths which launch one into money without nearly the degree of sacrifice or committment

Patients should learn how to become more responsible -- i.e. be compliant with medications, exercise at least 3 times per week, stay fit, do not smoke, drink excessively or use illicit drugs.
For example, cocaine is a drug that has been known to cause aortic dissection. If John Ritter really used this drug, is that the fault of the radiologist who performed his "screening exam", or the cardiologist who activated a heart code in order to rapidly open a blocked coronary artery in order to save his life, or the ER doctor, who rapidly diagnosed an acute MI. Who knows, as I am speculating, but how responsible was he for his own health, and did his recreational activities lead to his catastrophic demise; and, was it the fault of his doctors that he bled out from an aortic dissection, which rarely present with a heart attack, and was the standard of care truly breached. Do you think someone with a dissecting thoracic aorta has a high chance of surviving, especially when it is proximal with a coronary arterial dissection.
I don't think so.

Okay, so enough of my discordant venting, as this whole blog really fires me up and quite frankly, pisses me off. Take home points: Common sense goes a long way. Take care of yourself. Lawsuits often are unfounded. Oh, and don't use cocaine. And if you do, please sign a disclaimer that states -- "I have taken it upon myself any and all ill health effects on my body including death and permanent disability from my past, present and future use of cocaine and other illicit drugs..."
D Wang

Denver, CO

#87 Jul 11, 2008
Third Party wrote:
<quoted text>
It has happened to one of my loved ones. Trust me there is nothing that you can do to make the pain go away. Suing your doctor isn't going to make you feel better over the long course. We did not sue because of this.
Let me ask you this, what diseases do you think doctors should screen people for? There are literally 1000's of known diseases that can be fatal. Do you think that it is possible to screen for all of them? If doctors screen for aortic aneurysms and dissections then shouldn't they screen for pancreatic cancer, malignant gliomas, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis,Renal cell carcinoma, etc? The reason they don't is it isn't practical, it's nearly impossible and there isn't an insurance company in the world that would pay for it all. Even now insurance companies are reluctant to pay for the screenings and diagnostic exams that do go on today. Are you going to pay for what insurance doesn't cover?
Also, all of these screening tests are not without their own complications. Consider the amount of radiation a person would receive if he were screened for all the potentially fatal diseases. Consider the potential complications that happen during these screening exams. If a patient dies from a previously undiagnosed allergic reaction to intravenous contrast used for CT scans should we sue the hospital because they didn't screen for all the things that a patient could be allergic to?
If a doctor did something wrong because he did not follow the standard of care then yes he should be punished. But if he made a mistake then consider him a human being. For all the people who are so quick to jump on the "let's-sue-doctors" bandwagon I challenge any of you who think that it is possible to never make a mistake to go to medical school and prove it.
One more thing: How was the amount of lost wages for the Ritter case determined? How does anyone know how long Mr. Ritter would have lived and how much money he would have been making during that time? How do you know he wouldn't have died in a car accident the next day?
Excellent comments by D Wang. I agree with you 100%
Amen.
D Wang

Denver, CO

#88 Jul 11, 2008
concerned wrote:
Ok..if proper screening was not done ,and a death occurs...what do you do...just let it go....when it happens to one of your love ones...you will know what we are talking about....
How do you know he would not have died from something else or that the outcome would not have been different had they found the aneurysm and attempted to treat it? Lets say they caught it at a smaller size and tried to treat it -- people still die with smaller aneurysms. If he had bad aortic disease, he likely had bad coronary artery disease -- he was probably at risk for heart attack and the outcome might have been the same. The bottom line, he was not healthy.

How do we know proper screening wasn't performed? How do we know an ultrasound wasn't ordered and your father skipped it or was noncompliant with follow ups, physical exams, etc. Or maybe his insurance would not have covered such a screening (this is not a widely accepted guideline). How old was your father? If he was younger than 65 or older than 75, there is no definite recommendation for screening.

( http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/pocketgd07/pocketg... )

How did your father get to the point of such a large aneurysm? Was your father compliant with all of his doctors advice? Did your father smoke? Did his doctor not tell him to stop smoking if he did? If he didn't smoke, it doesn't matter what age he was, screening for aneurysm is not indicated. Would his insurance cover a test that isn't indicated? Would he or you cover the cost of such a test? Should everyone in the country be expected to shoulder the cost of "screening everyone over the age of 60" for aortic aneurysm, as you, speaking from a wealth of medical knowledge, profess?

Do you really think the physician caring for your father really HARMED your father? Was this physician really negligent? Did this doctor not uphold his responsibility to your father's health? Or did a bad outcome happen despite every warning that doctor probably ever had about watching blood pressure and not smoking.

I see the difference between us here... I'm giving the physician the benefit of the doubt because this is a person who sacrificed 12 years of his life after high school to have the privilege of caring for people. You on the other hand are quick to punish this person who probably cared more for your father than your father had for his own health.

If true harm was done to your father, then God bless him and your family - may all the money you receive from a settlement or a judgement (less the half taken by your lawyer) soothe the pain of his untimely loss.
D Wang

Denver, CO

#89 Jul 11, 2008
concerned wrote:
What if 4 months prior to death, the person is hospitalized for 4 days complaining of pulsations in the stomache area...this is a person over 60 with high blood pressure.....no sonogram performed...diagnoss is a UTI.....and a clean bill of health given.....would'nt that anger you in the least bit.....
The way you word this, yes it sounds like negligence. I just find it incredibly hard to believe a patient would complain of abdominal pain for 4 days and a CAT scan not be performed when CAT scans in the hospital are done for less serious complaints than abdominal pain on a regular basis (namely CYA - cover your ass - practice strategy). Furthermore, if anyone ever complained to their doctor, using the words you used -- pulsating abdominal pain, noone would ignore such a complaint and the first thought would be an abdominal aortic aneurysm. But the whole story is not fully given here. I doubt they made up the UTI diagnosis. What do you mean "clean bill of health?"
concerned

New Milford, NJ

#90 Jul 17, 2008
I mean they treated him for a UTI, where in fact it was a leaking aneurysm causing his temperature fluctuations. He colplained several times during his 4 day stay at the hospital about pulsations in his stomache...he said he felt like he had a baby in there...All they did was put their hand there and said all is fine....this is what infuriates me the most. When i say clean bill of health, thats what they meant..His blood pressure was fine, his heart beat was fine...My dad was a very strong and active man that took good care of himself...To this day, i feel that if the aneurysm was discovered in an earlier stage, he would have made it....
Rusty

Grand Rapids, MI

#91 Jul 17, 2008
concerned wrote:
I mean they treated him for a UTI, where in fact it was a leaking aneurysm causing his temperature fluctuations. He colplained several times during his 4 day stay at the hospital about pulsations in his stomache...he said he felt like he had a baby in there...All they did was put their hand there and said all is fine....this is what infuriates me the most. When i say clean bill of health, thats what they meant..His blood pressure was fine, his heart beat was fine...My dad was a very strong and active man that took good care of himself...To this day, i feel that if the aneurysm was discovered in an earlier stage, he would have made it....
Based on what you have just said maybe your father's case should be looked into. If it has been determined that the physicians and hospital were negligent i.e., ignoring your father's complaint of pulsations in his abdomen, then the involved parties need some type of punishment. Whether or not you should sue I cannot say. Keep in mind that no matter how much money you get it's not going to bring back your father. It won't take away your grief either.
himynameis

Pittsburgh, PA

#92 Mar 29, 2009
concerned wrote:
My father too died because of an aortic anneurism that was 12 cm large. We are currently suing his primary physician who treated him for over 10 years for high blood pressure. He never once did a scan to check for any anneurisms. Any man over the age of 60 with high blood pressure should be routinely check because they are a candidate for an anneurism.
4 months prior to his death, he stayed at a hospital for 4 days in which he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. This is often misdiagnosed when an anneurism is leaking. Again, there were no other checks in which he complained on feeling like a baby is kicking in his stomach. If the annearism had been caught 4 months prior to his death, perhaps he would have had a better chance of survival....
WOAH WOAH WOAH....High blood pressure and age over 60 is in NO WAY an indication for an AORTIC ANEURYSM evaluation! Where are you getting this stuff????
mee

Los Angeles, CA

#93 Apr 7, 2009
is this really true?
Withheld wrote:
I worked with John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck on the set of Problem Child II in Florida. John was a very nice guy, but he and Amy Yasbeck were coking it up the whole time. It is a well known fact that using cocaine on a regular basis, like John and Amy were doing , can and will sever the aorta valve. I think it is a shame and disrepectful what Amy Yasbeck is doing. She is using John's death to make herself wealthy. She is manipulative and a user. Not to mention that she is hurting careers of innocent people. Again, John was a great guy, but the truth is the truth.
Carl

United States

#94 Aug 31, 2009
Good
Owen

San Francisco, CA

#95 Nov 21, 2009
I'm happy. I'm from Sunnyvale,Ca.
kristy

United States

#96 Apr 16, 2012
Pissed off? Are you kidding me? Do you really think the Ritter family needed money? All I can say is ignorance. Doctors well know how difficult it is to diagnose Aortic dissection, so they keep missing it? How bout use the knowledge learned in medical school and rule it out before assuming all chest pain is a heart attack and call it good?Do you also realize the only way to draw attention to things that need to be changed, for instance hospital protocol, is to sue? They won't just do it because people die. Do your homework before commenting
Shane Matthews wrote:
Is there any proof of malpractice, or is the family just pissed off because the doctors couldn't find what was wrong with Mr. Ritter in time? I liked John Ritter too - he seemed like one of the few genuinely nice guys in show business - but standards of proof are standards of proof. Aortic aneurysms are very rare and difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms are similar to those of the much more common heart attack.
By the way, Dianne, Ritter was admitted to the emergency ward. I'm somehow thinking there wasn't time to get a second opinion, know what I mean? It's one thing to question and hold accountable. It's quite another to assume negligence and stick out your hand for compensation when the fact of the matter is you have no idea.

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