$1.7 Million Verdict Returned Against Billings Clinic, Physician in Medical Negligence Case

By CINDY UKEN Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette | Posted: Monday, 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.

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