A Fort Worth physician was convicted of criminally negligent homicide Tuesday and sentenced to two years in prison for the death of a patient. Jurors deliberated more than 10 hours over three days before agreeing that Dr. Lydia Grotti caused the 2000 death of Lettie McGhee, 64, through negligence, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. During a trial that lasted more than two weeks, prosecutors argued that Grotti, 46, suffocated McGhee by blocking her breathing tube with her finger.
Defense attorneys argued that McGhee was already dead and that Grotti blocked the endotracheal tube to stop agonal respirations — reflex breaths that occur as the brainstem deteriorates. Grotti closed her eyes briefly as the verdict was announced shortly before noon and later left the courtroom for lunch wearing dark sunglasses and surrounded by her attorneys. Defense Attorney Keith Ward said Grotti will appeal the conviction. “Dozens of physicians annually are found negligent in causing patient deaths in this state and other states, and they’re not criminal matters, normally,” Ward said.