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Mistrial declared in suicide case against Champion doctors



Published: Sat, January 18, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The wrongful-death trial involving two Champion Township physicians and a military veteran who committed suicide while under their care was declared a mistrial Friday, as the jurors reported being “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Atty. Brian Kopp, who argued the case for the family of Michael Ecker, said afterward it is too soon to decide whether they will seek a second trial.

“We’ll look at all our options, but we need to take a break” before deciding, he said.

One juror said she and the seven others were split 4-4, and none seemed to be willing to change his position on whether father and son doctors Frank and Zachary Veres of Champion were negligent in their treatment of Ecker, 25, who killed himself in August 2009, 11 days after his last doctor visit.

Kopp argued that the doctors failed to adequately address Ecker’s mental-health issues by failing to find out about the medical care he received before coming to them and by failing to use a written mental-health test filled out by the patient.

The jurors began their deliberations Thursday after closing arguments and continued them until about 3 p.m., at which point they indicated they could not reach a verdict.

A verdict would have required six of eight to agree.

The juror said she found it difficult to understand how two of the jurors could say that the standard of care the doctors provided to Ecker was OK.

“Some people have low expectations of medical care,” she said.

Ecker had been diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress disorder, severe depression and a traumatic brain injury by doctors at the Veterans Affairs facility that treated him before he went to the Champion physicians.

Ecker left the VA because he was frustrated with them, witnesses said.

The Vereses, who treated him from January 2009 to August 2009, asked Ecker to provide them with the VA records, but they never got them.

The chart for Ecker at the Vereses’ Mahoning Avenue offices made no mention of him having post-traumatic-stress, a traumatic-brain injury or severe depression until after he died, Kopp said.


Comments

1Boardman_Jeff(46 comments)posted 6 months ago

Hurray! The courts actually functioned correctly for once.

The doctors should NOT be blamed for this suicide. How do you blame health professionals who were the only ones trying to help this patient?

It's clearly obvious to me that the following parties ARE to be blamed for the suicide or had despicable morals surrounding the incident:

1) Patient's family --- greedy scumbags for trying to cash in on his death

2) Brian Kopp --- greedy scumbag lawyer (self explanatory)

3) VA hospital --- not cooperating with patient's doctors in continuity of care

4) GW Bush & Dick Cheney --- WAR CRIMINALS who should be on trial for mass murder !!

Suggest removal:

2thirtyninedollars(167 comments)posted 6 months ago

Maybe they should sue the VA instead of these local doctors.
It was the VA and govt. who failed him not the Doctors. Speaking of failing. Why didn't the family do more for their son? So in their frustration they want to punish the doctors for their own incompetence?

Suggest removal:


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