Maryville doctor prevails in Madison County medical malpractice trial
Madison County jurors found in favor of Dr. Anthony E. Malench of Maryville on Friday, following a four-day trial in Circuit Judge William Mudge's court.
Plaintiff attorney John Hopkins of Edwardsville had asked jurors to award his client Ronall Pratt, also of Edwardsville, in excess of $1 million, claiming that Malench was negligent for the heart attack death of his wife, Barbara Jean Pratt, on Jan. 27, 2009.
Hopkins told the jury during closing arguments that Malench did not adhere to medical standards of care. Pratt should have been given an EKG, because she had risk factors for cardiovascular disease, he said.
"Barbara died Jan. 27, 2009, because her trusted doctor, Anthony Malench, did not do his job," Hopkins said.
"If you become a doctor, you become respected by the community. What's expected is that you care about patients, that you do an exam that lasts more than five minutes for a woman you haven't seen in three years," he said.
Defense attorney Tim Richards of Belleville thanked the jury and told them they had done a good job of paying attention.
He said that attorney Hopkins had used "sound bites," which can make black seem white.
"He's used semantics," Richards said.
"This is a case where Dr. Malench has met the standard of care, and he absolutely did," Richards said. "Dr. Malench's decision making was in keeping with medical facts."
Barbara Pratt's symptoms were not cardiac, Richards explained.
"It's overwhelmingly simple. This case has been a week-long lesson in medicine," Richards said.
Hopkins had told the jury during his rebuttal that jurors were doing the highest exercise of civic duty.
"Give this family what only you can give. Ease their pain. Compensate them for their loss. Give them peace. Give them closure. Give them justice," he said.
Mudge informed the jury they weren't supposed to do independent research to make their decision.
The jury reached their decision two hours into deliberation.
Attorney Lucas Dalton assisted Richards with the case.
Turner Rouse was the plaintiff's co-counsel.
The case is Madison Case Number 09-L-747.