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Ritter's widow and ex-wife testify in court

March 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Amy Yasbeck and Ritter's children are suing two doctors, claiming improper care led to his death in 2003.Family members testified about their loss. Ritter's ex-wife Nancy Ritter and his widow Amy Yasbeck took the stand Monday.

Yasbeck shared pictures from the family photo album and described the loss of a husband and father. For much of the trial she was sitting near the jury. She was tearing up and openly sobbing as details emerged about how Ritter died.

She talked about a phone call from Ritter when he became nauseous on the set of '8 Simple Rules.' Hours later doctors told Yasbeck that he was bleeding internally. She told them at that time of his wish not to be resuscitated if it came to that. Doctors told her that they were way past that.

She says that she knew he was dying. She broke down emotionally in the courtroom. Defense attorneys say the emotion displayed a sense of loss, but it was expected.

"It is nothing that we did not anticipate and there is nothing of substance that affects the medical malpractice aspect of the case," said, Defense Attorney Stephen Fraser.

Yasbeck and Ritter's four children are suing two doctors for $67 million. Attorneys have been sparring about Ritter's symptoms. The plaintiffs say his rare condition could have been diagnosed through basic protocol.

"There was plenty of time to get a chest x-ray. There was plenty of time to make the diagnosis. They didn't have time though, for the five minutes it would of taken to wheel in a portable x-ray machine, to get a chest x-ray which would of immediately told them that he had the signs of an aortic dissection," said Moses Lebovits, Ritter family attorney.

Ritter's first wife Nancy took the stand as well. She was asked about the results of a whole body health scan that she and Ritter had years earlier.

In dispute is whether radiologist Matthew Lottych warned Ritter of an enlarged aorta.

She said Ritter never gave her any specifics about his test results. He did seem concerned about his heart condition. He did not make any appointment with his doctor though.

"She confirms that she was told when she had a health scan to go and follow up with a doctor. She did go to the doctor unlike her husband," said Defense Attorney Stephen Fraser.

Under cross examination Monday the jury learned that Ritter had been under the care of a psychiatrist. He was also taking medication for depression.

 

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