Malpractice case ends in mistrial

By Peter H. Milliken


A medical-malpractice case involving the heart-attack death of a 31-year-old man ended in a mistrial.

The jury said it was deadlocked, and the parties reached an undisclosed financial settlement, subject to Mahoning County Probate Court approval.

Visiting Judge Thomas P. Curran declared the mistrial Wednesday after 51/2 hours of jury deliberations on Tuesday and Wednesday in the civil lawsuit by the estate of Shawn Coin against Dr. Steven Swain, a family physician, who recently left his Austintown-office practice.

The jurors — five men and three women — in county common pleas court told Judge Curran late Tuesday afternoon they were split evenly after considering all the facts of the case.

Judge Curran told the jurors to resume deliberations Wednesday morning, and the judge declared the mistrial after three hours of jury deliberations. The 61/2-day trial began June 18.

Dr. Swain’s lawyer, Michael J. Hudak, said the settlement arose from the jury’s deadlock and the desire of the Coin estate and Dr. Swain not to go through another trial.

Coin, who was Youngstown State University football video coordinator, died Aug. 18, 2008, after being stricken at YSU.

The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Swain failed to obtain a complete medical history or an electrocardiogram and failed to refer Coin to a cardiologist in response to Coin’s repeated complaints of exercise-induced chest pain during the last three months of his life.

Dr. Swain diagnosed Coin’s condition as a rib-cartilage inflammation, and Coin died because he wasn’t diagnosed and treated for coronary-artery disease, the lawsuit said.

Hudak told jurors Coin failed to report his father’s coronary-artery disease history or bypass surgery at age 50 on a patient questionnaire and failed to follow through with a blood draw for routine tests, which Dr. Swain told him he should have undergone.

When Dr. Swain listened to Coin’s heart through a stethoscope, he found a regular heart rate and rhythm and no murmurs, Hudak said.

Dr. Swain is associate director of the family practice residency-training program at ValleyCare Northside Medical Center.

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