Dr. Conti, the infamous and now deceased pediatrician, is alleged to have contributed to the death of a 9 year old girl before he passed away. In a lawsuit against his estate filed on August 8, 2014 in the Eighth Judicial District Court, the parents of Briana Heath allege that Dr. Conti committed medical malpractice leading to the death of their daughter. At the end of March 2012, Briana began exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Her parents called Foothills Pediatrics, where Dr. Conti worked as the leading pediatrician. Briana had never been a patient at the clinic nor previously seen Dr. Conti. They spoke to Bertha Casillas who relayed her symptoms to Dr. Conti. Dr. Conti then prescribed Cefdinir without examining Briana. Her parents obtained the prescription and believed that Briana would recover shortly. However, Briana had a serious case of influenza and died three days later on March 29, 2012. The medical examiner attributed her death to “tracheobronchitis and mild interstitial pneumonitis with alveolar edema due to influenza viral infection”. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Conti was negligent when he did not require that Brianna come to the clinic to be examined, especially since she was not an established patient. Her parents are seeking damages in excess of $10,000 including medical expenses, the costs of her funeral as well as pain and suffering.
Prior to the incident with Briana, Dr. Conti was involved in a scandal that seriously undermined his ability to practice medicine. In October 2011, Dr. Conti was indicted by a federal grand jury in a “Scheme to Defraud” patients. The allegations stemmed from illegally using stem cells to treat adults with cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis and other debilitating diseases. Dr. Conti and his partner promised a cure but were unable to provide any results and stripped their patients of thousands of dollars. Dr. Conti was found guilty of multiple crimes on November 28, 2012 including Conspiracy, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud. Moreover, he had previously been fined by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiner for to having failed to comply with an order of the Board. He also received a public reprimand. During this time, Dr. Conti continued to practice at Foothills Pediatrics. The lawsuit by Briana’s parents alleges that Dr. Conti was distracted by legal troubles and did not provide the appropriate level of care for Briana.
Dr. Conti himself died on December 16, 2012 after undergoing surgery. His estate has been in probate since early 2013 and Letters of Testamentary were issued to his wife, Carol Conti, on August 15, 2013. Under Nevada law, any wrongful death claims against an estate must be made within 1 year of the issuance of Letters of Testamentary. Therefore, this lawsuit was filed just before the deadline to make a claim. Unfortunately, the claim will further increase the time to probate Dr. Conti’s estate. Any monetary recovery will have to be paid out of Dr. Conti’s estate to Briana’s parents as the heirs of her estate. However, that is likely small comfort for the loss of their daughter.