In an a stranger-than-fiction turn of events, a doctor being sued for medical malpractice rushed to the aid of the opposing lawyer when he fainted during the trial, all in front of the jury. One might think that could be grounds for mistrial, after all, what jury is going to rule against such a selfless doctor? Well the judge did call for a mistrial in this case last month, but because of the improper actions of the fainting lawyer, according to the Courier-Journal in Louisville, KY.
Dr. Ryan LeGrand was being sued for allegedly negligently ordering a nurse to remove a cervical collar that had stabilized a patient’s neck after a car accident. The patient’s estate claimed that this rendered the patient a quadriplegic and caused his death four months later. The doctor denied that he issued the order and both he and the hospital denied they were negligent.
The lawyer representing the patient’s estate is doing well physically after the fainting spell, but he is facing sanctions for causing the mistrial. The mistrial had nothing to do with his fainting, but with his playing a tape for the jury that failed to edit out a discussion about the doctor’s liability insurance. The judge ordered the attorney not to play that portion of the tape because she thought it might influence the jury if they knew the doctor himself was not paying for any liability they might find.
The doctor’s attorney claims the tape might have been purposely unedited in order to cause a mistrial, accusing him of “taking a dive” because his case wasn’t going well. The defense is asking for $125,000 in sanctions for the lost time and effort.
The medical malpractice trial has been rescheduled for next year. No word yet on whether there will be an attorney malpractice action.