Thursday, 4:30 PM
Judge declares mistrial in Weis malpractice lawsuit
By Mike Reiss and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
A Suffolk Superior Court judge declared a mistrial in former Patriot coach Charlie Weis's medical malpractice lawsuit today after two doctors involved in the case came to the aid of juror who passed out during testimony.
The juror began audibly gasping and collapsed at about 10:15 a.m. Several doctors -- including the two surgeons accused of botching Weis's gastric bypass -- rushed to help. People in the courtroom began to shout: "Call 911! Call 911!"
Several people called for help, including one of the doctors' defense attorneys. An ambulance rushed the juror to a local hospital. His condition was not immediately available.
Weis's lawyer, Michael E. Mone, quickly filed a motion for a mistrial after the man fell ill, arguing that the other jurors could have been influenced by what happened in court.
"I talked to my client and told him he basically had no choice," Mone said outside court. "He was very reluctant to have a mistrial, but I told him there was no choice, and we had to have a mistrial."
Judge Charles Spurlock called the remaining jurors to the bench one-by-one and asked if they felt they could remain impartial if the trial continued. Dailey, the defense attorney, argued that after more than a week of testimony the case was near its conclusion and should go on.
"I certainly wasn't supportive of the mistrial. I opposed it vehemently," Dailey said outside the courtroom. "We were very optimistic that there was going to be a good result and be no negligence found."
Spurlock took the motion under advisement and declared a mistrial after a short recess. Testimony had resumed today after the long holiday weekend, following Friday's appearance by Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.
Weis has charged that his doctors -- Charles M. Ferguson and Richard A. Hodin -- acted negligently when they let him bleed internally for 30 hours after surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in June 2002. He alleges that he suffered permanent nerve damage in his feet that has stopped him from walking with his wife, playing with his children, or running on the football field with his team at the start of a game at Notre Dame, where he is head coach.
Dailey, the surgeons' lawyer, has said in court that Weis had been told about the dangers of a gastric bypass, including the risk of internal bleeding. The doctors did their best and saved his life when complications arose, Dailey said.
Weis testified last week that he decided to have the surgery because he did not want to die of a heart attack, as his father did at age 56. He weighed almost 350 pounds when he underwent the procedure.
Brady testified on Friday that he kept a vigil at Weis's bedside after the surgery as he watched the coach he called his mentor drift in and out of consciousness.
The juror collapsed during the testimony of expert witness for the defense, Dr. David C. Brooks, the general surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital.