John Ritter’s voice was heard from beyond the grave Thursday, when lawyers played a tape of the final phone message he left his wife, Amy Yasbeck, on the day he died.
“Hi honey, this is John,” he said in the message dated Sept. 11, 2003. “I’m in my dressing room and not feeling very well. I think I have food poisoning.”
His widow – who brought the $67-million wrongful death lawsuit against two of the actor’s doctors – also described their final conversation, the Associated Press reports.
“He called back and said, ‘Now I’m having chest pains and the nurse is coming and they’re going to take me across the street,'” Yasbeck testified through tears. (The actress is expected to continue recounting Ritter’s final hours on Monday, when court resumes.)
Yasbeck – who met Ritter one the set of 1989’s Problem Child – and the comedian’s family are suing Dr. Joseph Lee, the cardiologist who treated Ritter the day he died, and Dr. Matthew Lotysch, a radiologist who administered the actor’s body scan in 2001.
Scan Administrator Testifies
The 8 Simple Rules … For Dating My Teenage Daughter star died of a torn aorta at the age of 54. Lawyers for the late actor’s family alleged that the cardiologist should have recognized the condition and that the radiologist should have detected an enlargement of the aorta. Both doctors dispute claims of any wrongdoing.
Lotysch, the scan administrator, testified Wednesday he met with Ritter for about a half hour after the test and told him he had triple vessel coronary disease and should follow up with a specialist. But Yasbeck testified that he never mentioned anything to her – and maintained that he wouldn’t have kept that news secret.
She claimed that he showed her the scan results and said, “This is not bad for a man of my age,” she testified. “He said, ‘You’d better be good to me, because I’m going to be around for a long time.”