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Family receives $1.5 million

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WAXAHACHIE - After a two week trial, a jury in the 40th District Court of Ellis County found Paul Kare, M.D. of Waxahachie was negligent in his treatment of Fred Ramirez and his negligent care resulted in the death of Ramirez.

The jury awarded over $1.5 million to his widow and two sons.

Kare was Ramirez's family physician on June 1, 2005, when Ramirez went to Kare's office complaining of shortness of breath and severe chest pain three days earlier.

Kare diagnosed Ramirez with heartburn and sent him home with heartburn medication.

One week later Ramirez died of a fatal heart attack while returning home from horse riding in west Texas.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner, Dr. Mark Krouse, testified at trial Ramirez died of a heart attack and his heart tissue had evidence of a prior heart attack near the time of his reported chest pain.

Dr. Harold Fields, a family physician from Houston and a member of the Baylor College of Medicine faculty, testified the standard of care called for Kare to refer Ramirez to a cardiologist to rule out the possibility of a cardiac issue.

In addition, Dr. Steven Shilling, a cardiologist from Dallas, testified had Ramirez been referred to a cardiologist a stress test would have revealed his heart condition and his death could have easily been prevented.

Kare claimed his care was appropriate and Ramirez's death was not preventable. In his defense, Kare called Dr. Kelly Felty, a Waxahachie family physician and Dr. Karen Klatte, a Waxahachie cardiologist.

Klatte disputed the Tarrant County Medical Examiner and argued Ramirez did not die of a diagnosable heart attack.

Instead, Klatte claimed Ramirez died of a form of heart arrhythmia which was neither diagnosable nor treatable.

Felty testified Kare provided adequate treatment to Ramirez.

Jeff Embry, counsel for the Ramirez family said, 'The jury got it right, there is no question that this man's death was preventable if Dr. Kare had just done what was right and sent him to a cardiologist.

'It's a tragedy for the Ramirez family.'

In closing arguments, Phil Pfeifer, co-counsel for the Ramirez family said, 'Fred's symptoms were a medical red light and Dr. Kare ran that red light.'

The Ramirez family was pleased with the outcome and feels just was served, according to a press release from the family's attorney.

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Nelson Propane

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