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Man Dies While Engaged in Threesome; Family Sues Cardiologist and Wins $3 Million For Failure to Warn!


Posted on Jun 01, 2012

$3 million was awarded to a Georgia man's family for the negligence of a cardiologist prior to the man's extramarital threesome, which ended in his death.

 

William Martinez, 31, of Gwinnett County, died on March 12, 2009. Just a week earlier, he visited the CardioVascular Group in Lawrenceville, GA, with chest pains shooting up his arm. He was already suffering from high blood pressure and his heart was at risk of clogged arteries. He met with cardiologist Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, who scheduled an appointment eight days later for testing.

 

But his fatal threesome took place the day before the test.

 

Martinez's estate sued the doctor for negligently failing to warn him not to engage in physical activity, including sexual activity, prior to the test.

 

The trial began last Monday, with the estate seeking $5 million in damages. The jury sided with Martinez's family, but found Martinez 40% liable, and awarded the estate $3 million.

 

Martinez's threesome was with a friend and a woman other than his wife. It is not clear to what extent his family -- his wife and two sons -- will benefit from the award.

 

The defense is determined to appeal the verdict.

 

COMMENTARY

Judging by the news reports, this decision would appear to make absolutely no sense. The family claimed that the cardiologist failed to warn the patient that he should not engage in risky strenuous activities. Obviously, we do not have all the details.

 

However, the next argument to consider is: Even if the patient was warned that he should not engage in strenuous activities, there is no way to know whether he would have abided by the doctor's advice and recommendation.

 

The fact that he was cheating on his spouse and engaged in an extramarital affair is not fully explained in the news reports. Nor do we know what type of arguments the attorneys made to the jury based upon his cheating.

 

Let's see if I understand this scenario. 31-year-old male patient with cardiac symptoms goes to his cardiologist. Cardiologist decides to send him for diagnostic tests. Patient schedules those tests for one week later. During that week, patient decides to get it on with another couple. During the course of sex with this other couple patient has a heart attack and dies.

 

What is not discussed in the news reports is whether there was an autopsy report showing the precise cause of death. In a wrongful death case having an autopsy can be beneficial since it allows us to know precisely why the victim died. We can then work backwards to determine for how long the patient had that condition. Then we can have a medical expert comment on what would have happened if the condition was diagnosed and treated earlier.

 

More importantly, and not addressed in any of the news reports, is how the family knew that the doctor failed to warn the patient not to engage in strenuous activity like an extramarital affair.

 

There are are very few ways they would have known. I imagine that after the philanderer returned back from his doctor's visit, he must have had a conversation with family or friends describing the visit. If those people were in court and tried to tell the jury what the dead patient said, in New York, we would not be able to get that testimony into evidence. Why not? Because that's hearsay.

 

Hearsay is when a witness at trial tries to tell the jury about something that was told to them by someone else. That someone else is usually unavailable and not in the courtroom.

 

If you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Why? Because the defense attorney is unable to question the person who actually made the statement and is unable to question that person's credibility.

 

A trial has often been described as a search for the truth. If someone makes a statement or claim, the other side has an opportunity to question the veracity or truth of that matter. That happens during cross-examination. If a witness is unavailable, a jury in New York would not be allowed to consider statements made by people who are not in court. Also if the defense lawyers did not have an opportunity to question that witness prior to trial, a judge in NY would likely not permit the jury to hear those comments.

 

That's one of the missing ingredients in these news reports that perplexes me. It is totally unclear from the sensationalistic news reports about this case how the family or jury was able to come to the conclusion that the patient was never warned that he should not engage in risky and strenuous behavior since he was at risk for heart injury or death.

 

What a bizarre case.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions, I invite you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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