$1.7 million verdict returned against Billings Clinic, physician in medical negligence case

2011-02-21T09:30:00Z 2011-02-22T06:40:52Z $1.7 million verdict returned against Billings Clinic, physician in medical negligence case

By CINDY UKEN

Of The Gazette Staff‌

The Billings Gazette
February 21, 2011 9:30 am  • 

A Billings widow and her four children have been awarded a $1.7 million verdict in a medical malpractice case involving Billings Clinic and Dr. Faranak Argani, an internal medicine physician.

A Yellowstone County jury found Argani and Billings Clinic negligent in the death of Gerard “Gerry” Heidt, 42, who died Oct. 5, 2005.

A Yellowstone County jury rendered the verdict on Friday in Amy Heidt’s favor after a weeklong trial and six hours of deliberation.

“This case is about a patient who fell through the cracks and suffered a death that was entirely preventable,” said Don Harris, one of Amy Heidt’s attorneys.

Harris said they were seeking $1.9 million in lost wages and money for the children’s college education. When the verdict was rendered, the jury awarded $1.6 million for lost wages and $120,000 for the children’s college education.

“It doesn’t bring him back, but it sure helps them financially,” Harris said. “It’s been a long time coming. Amy has four children, one of whom is a special needs child.

“I’m very, very happy for our clients. He was a wonderful man and devoted husband.”

The jury determined that Argani failed to properly monitor Gerry Heidt for a known heart valve condition, commonly referred to as a leaky valve, Harris said. The Heidt family alleged that Argani should have referred Gerry Heidt to a heart specialist after he experienced chest pain.

The family alleged that Argani misdiagnosed the chest pain as a torn muscle instead of pain caused by his leaky valve. He died a year later because he did not receive a replacement valve, said Steven Harman of Harman, Warren & Harris Law Firm, which represented the family.

John Russell, the attorney for Argani and Billings Clinic, said Argani is still practicing at Billings Clinic but declined further comment.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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