FIGHT OVER JOHN RIT­TER’S TRAGIC DEATH

Globe - - TALES FROM THE MORGUE -

MYS­TERY still shrouds the death of Three’s Com­pany leg­end John Rit­ter, who died at age 54 on Sept. 11, 2003, un­der very strange cir­cum­stances.

Rit­ter was cel­e­brat­ing his daugh­ter Stella’s fifth birth­day on the set of his hit sit­com 8 Sim­ple Rules for Dat­ing My Teenage Daugh­ter when he started vom­it­ing, be­came faint and suf­fered ex­cru­ci­at­ing chest pains.

Rushed to Prov­i­dence Saint Joseph Med­i­cal Cen­ter at 6 p.m., he was given tests and a chest X-ray and pre­scribed as­pirin and anti-nau­sea medicine.

Around 7:15 p.m., a test con­vinced the doc­tor John had had a heart at­tack. He was given the stan­dard treat­ment of anti-co­ag­u­lants.

Trag­i­cally, this can worsen an aor­tic dis­sec­tion, the rup­ture of a heart artery, a hard-to-di­ag­nose

con­di­tion he’d ac­tu­ally suf­fered.

He was pro­nounced dead at 10:48 p.m. No au­topsy was per­formed be­cause doc­tors con­vinced his sec­ond wife, Amy Yas­beck, of the cause of death, in­sid­ers said at the time.

She came to be­lieve the lack of an au­topsy was part of a coverup, hid­ing gross neg­li­gence.

“The doc­tors told it to me like I was five,” Yas­beck says. “The truth is, it’s a lot more com­pli­cated and it’s a lot more sad.”

Yas­beck later sued for $67 mil­lion and got $14 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $9 mil­lion from the hospi­tal.

But a jury de­cided the doc­tors who treated Rit­ter were not neg­li­gent be­cause the fa­tal con­di­tion was dif­fi­cult to de­tect.

Amy still be­lieves the medics missed signs that could have saved his life and in­stead gave him treat­ment that proved fa­tal.

“You can’t treat my kid’s dad for some­thing and kill him in the process,” she in­sists.

Rit­ter fell ill while with daugh­ter Stella andwife Amy

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