By reader acclaim: cardiologist should have warned cop of sex spree

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2012

Covered it in a roundup a couple of weeks back, but as a reader favorite it may as well have its own post: “A jury has awarded a Georgia woman $3 million over her husband’s heart attack, finding that his doctor should have warned the Atlanta cop against strenuous activity like the three-way sex he was having at the time he died, WXIA-TV reports.” The deceased was not married to either of the other participants in the fatal motel-room encounter. [USA Today/Freep]

{ 8 comments }

1 Max Kennerly 06.20.12 at 11:16 am

The decedent’s lawyer nailed it: “The type of sex that he was engaged in is the type that’s totally unacceptable to our community, [b]ut the fact of the matter is this man could have died running on the treadmill, running after a criminal.”

It looked like garden variety malpractice to me. It’s the standard of care to warn patients with symptoms like that to refrain from strenuous activity until they’ve completed a subsequent stress test, which means the only question here is: should his family be denied compensation on the grounds that he died while committing an immoral act? I submit that view would open us up to the worst kind of society, one in which we have one set of laws for the upstandin’ folks and one set of laws for the no-good folks.

2 John Burgess 06.20.12 at 12:36 pm

You’re right Max. The doctor should have taken an hour to go over each and every activity the patient should eschew. Given that the doctor had some sort of relationship with the patient, might he not be reasonably expected to have a mental picture of him and his typical activities and to warn against likely dangers, not possible ones?

I mean, the doctor didn’t caution him about free diving or attempting K2 or Everest. Is envisioning the patient in a threesome necessarily less outrageous?

Next time I’m at my doctor’s office, I’ll be sure to ask for a detailed itemization of what I shouldn’t do. Then I’ll make sure the list is comprehensive. I hear Machu Pichu is pretty this time of year….

3 gasman 06.20.12 at 1:13 pm

Dying in the throes of passion… priceless. Estate is ordered to pay the doc instead.

4 OBQuiet 06.20.12 at 11:21 pm

John Burgess:

I think I agree with you in principle. But there is NOT much to go in in that article. If the doc warned against ‘strenuous activity’ then, I think this award is a crime. You shouldn’t have to be given a list of everything you should avoid.

If the issue is that the doc didn’t recognize the problem and failed to warn, I don’t know what the problem was or what the standard of care for the situation is so I can’t say what I think the the verdict should have been but I can see the award being reasonable.

5 Max Kennerly 06.20.12 at 11:30 pm

John,

The doctor should have taken 1 minute to explain to the patient not to engage in any sort of strenuous activity, because his heart looked bad and they needed more testing to see how he was really doing.

I just did that in half of a sentence in plain-spoken English. No threesome, no free diving, no mountain climbing. Just a regular old warning, and then scheduling the stress test ASAP. Is that so hard?

6 gitarcarver 06.21.12 at 11:04 am

There is a huge hunk of information missing here that has troubled me from the very beginning.

The defense claimed the deceased was “”instructed to avoid exertional activity until after the nuclear stress test was completed.”

source: http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2012/may/31/family-awarded-3-million-in-mans-sex-death/

To me, the big chunk that is missing is “who was in the room when the deceased was warned?”

If it was just the doctor and the patient, this seems like a terribly wrong verdict as it can’t stand up to facts. If the wife or someone else was in the room when the discussion took place and they say no warning was issued, that is different.

If the doctor is correct and the deceased was warned, the only thing this can lead to is doctors now having to record conversations with patients, having a third party in the room, or having the patient sign some form acknowledging every possibility known to mankind (as John Burgess notes says above.)

7 Shtetl G 06.21.12 at 11:13 am

having the patient sign some form acknowledging every possibility known to mankind (as John Burgess notes says above.)

The first time I read that my mind substituted the word position instead of possibility.

8 AMcA 06.21.12 at 3:35 pm

Proof that karma is dead.

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