The “strange saga of Dr. Ralph Conti,” which we wrote about in the July issue of Desert Companion, isn’t over yet, apparently. On Aug. 8, two parents filed a complaint for medical malpractice against Conti’s estate, just before the time for making such claims expired.
The plaintiffs, Franklin and Catherine Heath, say their 9-year-old daughter, Briana, became ill in late March 2012. They called Foothills Pediatrics, the business Conti both owned and worked in as a physician. Despite Briana’s being a new patient, they say, Conti took her symptoms over the phone through an intermediary and prescribed the antibiotic Cefdinir without seeing her.
As recapped by the Morris Anderson Law blog (the firm is not a party in the case), Briana had a severe flu and died three days after her parents contacted Foothills. Their complaint asserts that Conti, distracted by his legal troubles, was negligent in his failure to examine and properly treat the girl. They are seeking a minimum of $10,000 in damages to cover the Heaths’ related medical and funeral costs, in addition to their pain and suffering.
As for the timing of the lawsuit, Morris Anderson’s Tara Young explains that Conti’s wife, Carol Conti, had been issued letters of testamentary on Aug. 15, 2013, for her deceased husband’s estate, which had been in probate since early that year. That started the clock ticking under Nevada law, giving parties one year to file wrongful death claims against the estate. The Aug. 8 filing, then, came in just under the wire — and adding yet another chapter to the Dr. Conti saga.