Our own Gary Fox, a renowned medical malpractice attorney, has filed a medical negligence suit against a sports medicine physician who contributed to the death of a young minor league player. In March 2019, Dr. David Olson examined Ryan Costello, a young player under contract with the Minnesota Twins. Olson found Ryan fit enough for spring training after a medical exam that included an electrocardiogram (ECG).
However, our investigation uncovered the ECG showed clear signs Ryan had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW), a rare and potentially fatal heart abnormality. Any other doctor might have seen the abnormalities and held Costello back for further testing. Instead, Ryan was allowed to participate in strenuous activities.
Within a few months, he died of sudden cardiac arrhythmia.
Did the Doctor Know Costello Had WPW?
Our firm found a copy of the March 2019 ECG Olson ordered. In the upper left-hand corner, we could see the letters "WPW" and indications that the test clearly called for further evaluation before releasing Costello for professional athletics. However, the health report Olson signed shows that he circled the word "Normal" under every category and said no action was necessary concerning Ryan's health.
It's apparent to us and any honest observer that Ryan's death was preventable.
"Anyone reading that report—any cardiologist or doctor—realizes the kid's got WPW and needs to be seen by a cardiologist or, more specifically, an electrophysiologist with a specialty in cardiology dealing with rhythm disorders," Gary Fox told Florida Politics. "But for some inexplicable reason, this doctor doesn't read the report, or certainly doesn't read it carefully enough, so he misses not only the fact that the rhythm strip is abnormal but that the machine printed out the correct diagnosis, raised all the bells and whistles that needed to be raised about this kid."
Ryan Costello was a talented player with a "promising career ahead of him," Florida Politics writes.
He was only 23 when he died.
Regardless of what he had ahead of him, there is one indisputable truth: his doctor failed him, and his family deserves answers for the loss they've suffered. Just as importantly, Ryan deserves justice for his tragic, utterly preventable death. We intend to hold the doctor accountable for the damage his negligence caused.