This week, attorneys involved in John Ritter wrongful death lawsuit began jury selection. The case finally goes to court more than four years following the September 2003 death of the beloved actor.
The late actor’s wife, actress Amy Yasbeck, and his children are suing cardiologist Joseph Lee and radiologist Matthew Lotysch, who both treated the actor. The trial will take place at Los Angeles County Superior Court in California.
Lotysch saw the actor in 2001. After conducting a body scan, the radiologist reported that there was nothing wrong with Ritter’s aorta but recommended that he see a cardiologist. Ritter did not pursue further treatment after Lotysch’s diagnosis. Ritter’s family says that Lotysch should have noticed that his aorta was enlarged.
In 2003, Ritter was on the set of his hit TV series, “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” when he started to experience nausea, chest pain, and vomiting. He was rushed to the ER of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.
An x-ray of his chest was ordered but never happened. Dr. Joseph Lee diagnosed the 54-year-old actor as having a heart attack and treated him for one. According to the lawsuit filed by Ritter’s family, the treatment he received for the heart attack was the exact opposite kind of care that he needed. The family contends that he would have survived longer if he had been correctly diagnosed and received the proper treatment.
The family is suing both doctors for failing to properly diagnose and treat the actor, as well as for negligence.
The amount that the family is suing for–$67 million-is partially based on the amount of money the actor could have made had he lived.
In other wrongful death claims related to Ritter’s death, his family has received some $14 million in settlements from several medical entities. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center settled their wrongful death case with the Ritter family for $9.4 million.