A medical malpractice trial was spiked with heated testimony and questioning as it neared its end in Madison County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Closing arguments in the case against Troy doctor, Dolores Cantrell, M.D., will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday. Cantrell was sued by William Hoppe, Jr.'s estate in 2004 alleging she misdiagnosed unstable angina. on July 18, 2003, which caused his death the very next day.
The case was set to reach the jury Wednesday. Several delays, including hearings in which the jury has had to be ushered out of the courtroom, have slowed the pace.
Circuit Judge Dan Stack agreed to a later start Thursday so that a juror to say farewell to her senior students before the school year ends.
Stack made his ruling so that the juror could attend her morning class and then return because only one alternate juror remains. Both sides feared excusing her all together would be too risky.
William Hoppe's wife, Pamela Hoppe, claims her husband died the day after he was seen by Cantrell in July 2003.
According to the lawsuit, Cantrell failed to recognize Hoppe's symptoms of unstable angina and failed to adequately and promptly treat the angina. The complaint also alleges Cantrell failed to send Hoppe to a cardiologist for immediate help.
According to the estate, at the time of his death, Hoppe was survived by his wife and two teenage children who have been deprived of large sums of money and valuable services he would have provided.
Shortly after the suit was filed, Pamela Hoppe also died.
Seeking damages in excess of $50,000, Hoppe will be represented by Morris Chapman of Granite City. Chapman is assisted by Rocco Mareese, who also is a medical doctor.
Representing Cantrell, Richard Hunsaker of Heyl Royster, told the jury during opening arguments that Cantell did meet the standard of care and that his expert witnesses would also tell them the same story.
William Hoppe was seen by Cantrell on July 18, 2003, with chest pains, elbow pain, sweating and shortness of breath.
According to Hunsaker, Cantrell ordered an EKG on the spot, which came back normal and then scheduled a stress test, urine test, lipid profile, CBC, Chem 12, and ultra-sound and x-rays for the next week at a local hospital.
William Hoppe never made the appointment, according to the testimony of his son, William Hoppe III, age 19. He said he found his father on the bathroom floor the next morning and called 911, but that it was too late, his father had already died.
Stack has allowed each side 90 minutes for closing arguments. After Stack reads the jury instructions, it will start deliberations around 4:30 p.m.
Stack indicated he would allow the jury to deliberate until around 11 p.m. since they will be getting a late start.