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Defendants ‘helped’ to a mistrial

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ERIE, Pa. — Three doctors who were defendants in a medical malpractice case revived a juror who fainted during the trial, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

The case against Drs. Scott Henry, Joseph Carvelli and Betty Toperzer, involving a woman with liver disease, was settled out of court Thursday.

Earlier this week, the doctors aided juror Andrew Estok when he fainted and slid to the floor of the jury box 10 minutes into the plaintiffs' opening statement. Estok, 54, speculated that a light breakfast of a banana and a cup of coffee might have contributed to his lightheadedness.

Judge Shad Connelly declared the mistrial, saying he and the lawyers were worried that the doctors' reaction may have led jurors "to be prejudiced toward the doctors."

"They had seen them act in a very humane way in a situation where they did not have to act at all — legally," Connelly said.

Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Court records indicated Michol Leasure, 38, and her parents were seeking as much as $1.1 million in lost wages and benefits alone.

Her lawyers claimed she suffered from an acute liver disorder, caused by a virus, but it was misdiagnosed as hepatitis. They said the wrong diagnosis delayed a needed liver transplant and led to brain damage. The doctors claimed no wrongdoing.