Jurors hear expert testimony Thursday in med mal trial

Christina Stueve Oct. 21, 2011, 2:45am



Jurors listened to three hours of medical expert testimony Thursday in a Madison County medical malpractice trial involving the claims of an Edwardsville man suing over the death of his wife in 2009.

Dr. Patricia Cole, a St. Louis cardiologist, was called to be a witness for the defense team. She was first examined by Tim Richards. She told jurors that she would not have given Barbara Jean Pratt an EKG on the day she visited Dr. Anthony E. Malench of Maryville.

Pratt died of a heart attack at age 70 on Jan. 27, 2009. Her husband, Ronall Pratt, 75, claims Malench is responsible for her death.

Cole also told jurors that Malench's notes, detailing the visit Pratt had with him on Jan. 21, 2009, were more complete "than what we usually see."

Cole works in an emergency room and sees every patient with heart problems in a 1,000-bed hospital.

Doctors are supposed to consider what the patient says, plus examine the patient, she said.

"You have to use the whole gamut when examining a patient," Cole said.

Cole said she charges $350 per hour to review cases and $500 per hour for the time she spends on the witness stand.

Cole said she reviewed Pratt's medical records, depositions from the family and the ambulance record.

Pratt's attorney, John Hopkins of Edwardsville, told jurors during opening arguments on Tuesday that Malench did not give Pratt an EKG during her visit to Malench's office on Jan. 21, 2009, despite the fact that she had chest pains and that he had EKG equipment.

Plaintiff witness Dr. John Ortinau in earlier testimony said that Malench failed to properly diagnose Pratt for an acute coronary syndrome, which required an EKG in the office and subsequent immediate hospitalization for further evaluation.

Defense witness Dr. Gerald Suchomski also testified earlier in the trial that began on Tuesday.

Co-counsel for the plaintiff, Turner A. Rouse, said one more witness is expected to testify before closing arguments on Friday.

Attorney Tim Richards of Belleville represents Malench.

The case is Madison County Case 09 L 747.

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