thLatasha Randall was admitted on June 1, 2010 to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan, Ill., and was diagnosed with sepsis. Shortly after her admission, she suffered respiratory failure and was intubated.

On June 22, 2010, the defendant general surgeon, Dr. Laurence Gibson, performed an open tracheostomy and was assisted by his physician partner, Dr. Aaron Siegel.

After the procedure, 37-year-old Randall’s face was noticeably swollen and post-op x-rays showed subcutaneous emphysema (air outside lungs, under the skin). Three days later, her attending physician transferred her to Kindred Hospital in Chicago for management of her ventilation, but with a grim prognosis due to her sepsis and other lethal illnesses.

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th-2John Antonucci was 52 years old at the time he underwent an MRI with contrast on his right hip. Two days later he was admitted to the hospital complaining of pain in the same hip. An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jason Fond, obtained a culture and later discharged Antonucci with a diagnosis of “inflammation.” One and a half days later, Antonucci was diagnosed as having septic arthritis.

As a result, Antonucci required a hip replacement and now suffers from chronic pain, which prevents him from doing many of the daily activities of living or returning to his job as a construction worker where he was earning $35,000 per year.

Antonucci and his wife filed suit against Dr. Fond and his practice, claiming that Dr. Fond chose not to timely treat the infection and that evidence of such infection was present on the culture results that the doctor ordered. The plaintiffs claimed that Antonucci required a timely surgical washout of the wound created by the contrast injection and that the delay in treatment allowed the infection to progress to dangerous levels.

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thBarbara Watt underwent a hiatal hernia repair surgery. The procedure was carried out by general surgeon Dr. Cimenga Tshibaka, and it was unsuccessful. Dr. Tshibaka performed a second surgery, this time using a synthetic surgical mesh. The second surgery was about 2 weeks after the first.

The following month, Watt was diagnosed as having an esophageal leak, which required nine additional surgeries to, among other things, remove the synthetic mesh that had eroded into her esophagus.

As a result of these many surgeries, Watt must now eat slowly and in limited amounts. She must also wear special undergarments due to scarring and is unable to bend over to lift more than 5 pounds. She also missed time from her job as a financial operations specialist where she was earning $21 per hour.

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UnknownShronda Thomason suffered from a cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, which necessitated the implanting of a defibrillator. The treating cardiologist, Dr. John Gallagher, advised Thomason that she required a new pacemaker battery and the replacement of the defibrillator’s lead.

During the surgery, which was done in a hospital catherization lab, Thomason sustained a puncture and hole in her superior vena cava of her heart. Clearly, the hole resulted in profuse and immediate bleeding from that area of the heart. Dr. Gallagher called for a cardiothoracic surgeon to assist. Thomason was placed on cardiovascular bypass about an hour and a half later. By then, it was too late.

Because Thomason suffered excessive bleeding, she died. Thomason was a property specialist earning more than $50,000 annually and was survived by her four children, one of whom is a minor.

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images-1Kevin Tolson was 49 years old when he was injured as the collapsible barrier he was walking over suddenly shot upward, entangling him. He was taken to the nearby hospital emergency room where he experienced symptoms, which included a cold left foot that he was unable to move, numbness and tingling in the foot as well as severe pain. X-rays were completed and a physician assistant diagnosed knee strain and released Tolson from the hospital with instructions to see an orthopedic surgeon.

When Tolson’s symptoms persisted, he consulted a local doctor who detected low pulse in his leg and instructed him to return to the hospital. An MRI revealed that all of the ligaments in Tolson’s left knee were damaged. Despite surgery, Tolson’s leg had to be amputated above the knee. He had been a security guard working two jobs at about $20 an hour, but is now able to hold only one position due to his medical condition.

Tolson sued the physician assistant and emergency room physician at the hospital and also named the hospital as a party defendant. It was alleged in the lawsuit that these medical providers chose not to diagnose a popliteal artery injury. Tolson claimed that based on his symptoms and the x-rays that were taken at the emergency room a dislocation and possible vascular injury could not be ruled out.

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imagesViola Morrisroe was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema in 1999. She was under the care of Dr. Edward Diamond of Suburban Lung Associates as her primary pulmonologist. In February 2009, a CT scan of her chest revealed a soft tissue density in the right upper lobe of her lung.

Dr. Diamond referred her for a PET scan, which was done in late April 2009, showing a standardized uptake valve that was elevated, but not high enough to be suspicious for lung cancer.

Dr. Diamond’s plan was to repeat the CT scan in about 4 months.

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thRichard Cholipski sued three contractors in Chicago for injuries he claimed that he suffered in a construction accident. Defendants requested and received permission to file a contribution claim three years after Cholipski’s lawsuit was filed. They accused in their contribution action that Cholipski’s physician was guilty of medical malpractice, thus increasing or causing Cholipski’s claimed injuries. But because the trial on Cholipski’s negligence complaint was scheduled to start in five months, the presiding judge granted the plaintiff’s request to stay the contribution part of the case while allowing the case in chief to proceed to trial.

The defendants appealed, arguing that the judge abused her discretion and the stay violated the “principles” of the case of Laue v. Leifheit, 105 Ill.2d 191 (1984), which interpreted Section 5 of the Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act as providing that, “When there is a pending action, the contribution claim should be asserted by counterclaim or by third-party claim in that action.”

The appellate court rejected the first argument stating that if it accepted the defendants’ argument, it would not allow for a plaintiff to have a speedy resolution of his or her lawsuit, but instead would allow the defendant to wait three years and then bring a contribution claim against the treating physician, delaying the case in a way that brings pressure on the plaintiff to settle.

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th-5A Cook County jury heard evidence in a medical malpractice jury trial related to postoperative physical therapy that was alleged to have caused left knee ligament damage to the patient. The plaintiff in this case was 44-year-old Michele Boucher-Kmiec, who underwent left knee ligament repair surgery at Swedish Covenant Hospital on July 6, 2009. After the surgery, her leg was placed in an immobilizer.

On July 7 and July 8, 2009, the defendant physical therapist Brittany Mynsberge worked with the patient for her physical therapy. The physical therapy order came from Boucher-Kmiec’s surgeon, who did the knee surgery.

In this lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that physical therapist Mynsberge was negligent in performing range of motion exercises on the post-surgical knee when it was contraindicated. It was also alleged that the physical therapist would have known that such a range of motion exercise was not indicated if she had noticed the immobilizer, which extended from the patient’s buttocks to her toes. It further contended that the defendant physical therapist’s improper therapy caused danger to the repaired medial collateral ligament, which later became infected.

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th-4On Aug. 1 to Aug. 3, 2012, Luis Enrique Acevedo Muro M.D. attended a medical conference at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on Adams Street in downtown Chicago. While staying at the hotel, which was recently renovated and located at 151 W. Adams St., Dr. Acevedo was exposed to dangerous aerosolized water vapor from the hotel fountain, which was contaminated by Legionella bacteria. As a result, Dr. Acevedo, 80, contracted Legionnaires’ disease and was hospitalized at the University of Miami Hospital on Aug. 8, 2012 with fever, shortness of breath and hypoxia, which is a reduced blood flow with oxygen to the body.

Dr. Acevedo suffered from several pre-existing co-morbidities, including Stage 3 chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes and hyperlipedemia. Due to these serious medical conditions, Dr. Acevedo rapidly deteriorated, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit, but he subsequently became hypotensive, required intubation and then died on Aug. 14, 2012.

Dr. Acevedo was survived by his second wife and their daughter as well as four older daughters from his previous marriage. His family’s claim for medical expenses was $131,000. The hotel admitted liability and causation, but contested the damages.

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Unknown-1A Cook County jury found that no medical negligence that caused the death of Jerome Granat following a cardiac catherization. On June 16, 2010, the defendant cardiologist, Dr. Surendra Avula, performed a cardiac catherization procedure on 64-year-old Granat at Advocate Christ Hospital. The patient’s previous cardiac history included quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery in 1994, three stents put in place in 2002 and 2007 and one heart attack, but he still had normal heart function and was in reasonably good health at the time of this procedure.

Dr. Avula, the head of the cardiac cath lab at Christ Hospital, found 99% blockage in Granat’s old bypass vein graft, requiring a new stent; however, the old graft ruptured when the stent was inserted.

Despite emergency surgery, Granat suffered brain damage and died 2 weeks later. He had recently retired and was survived by his wife and three adult children. The family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Avula and his practice maintaining that he selected a stent that was too large (4 mm instead of 3.5 mm), that he improperly responded to the graft rupture and that he should have re-inserted a balloon to stop the bleeding rather than transferring the patient for emergency cardiovascular surgery.

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