imagesA Cook County jury entered a $351,000 jury verdict for 14-year-old Arkadiusz Sztuk who arrived at the emergency room at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., with complaints of lower left abdominal pain. He was examined and treated by the defendant pediatric emergency room physician, Dr. Jagvir Singh.

In the medical negligence lawsuit filed on his behalf, it was alleged that the defendants, including Advocate Health & Hospital Corp. d/b/a as Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Dr. Singh, were negligent in choosing not to diagnose left-sided testicular torsion, choosing not to perform a testicular examination to rule out torsion and failing to surgically prophylactically fix or fasten the right testicle or the right-sided torsion.

Testicular torsion takes place when a testicle rotates twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum. With the reduced blood flow, the results of the torsion can be very painful and cause swelling. Testicular torsion most commonly occurs to boys between the ages of 12 and 16. In most cases, testicular torsion requires emergency surgery. If treated quickly, the testicle can be saved. However, if the blood flow has been cut off for a long period of time, the testicle may be so badly damaged as to require its removal.

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gallery-thumbnails.phpDarian Wisekal had a pap smear in August 2008. The slide was sent to Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp). A LabCorp technologist errantly interpreted the slide as “negative for intraepithelial lesion and malignancy.” A squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) is an abnormal growth of cells on the surface of the cervix, commonly referred to as squamous cells. When diagnosed, this condition may lead to cervical cancer but can be diagnosed using a pap smear. Wisekal died of cervical cancer some three years after the errant read of the slides. She was survived by her husband and two daughters.

John Wisekal, Darian’s husband and her personal representative of the estate, filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death case in Florida’s state court. The lawsuit was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The Wisekal family claimed that as a result of the misread, Wisekal’s cervical cancer spread and became untreatable. The defendants denied a standard of care failure and also maintained that the disease, cervical cancer, which was the cause of her premature death, was not subject to diagnosis in 2008. The defendants argued that even if the LabCorp cytotechnologist had correctly interpreted the relevant Pap smear as atypical, she would not have presented with cervical cancer.

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IUnknownn a tragic medical malpractice case, Jeanette Turner, who was just 42 years old, suffered permanent brain damage at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in 2006. It was alleged in the Cook County lawsuit that several doctors chose not to monitor and maintain her tracheotomy tube, which caused her injury after a blood clot lodged inside her tube cutting off her air supply.

This all started when Turner visited Mercy Hospital in February 2005 looking for treatment for a soft tissue infection in her jaw and neck. The infection caused Turner’s throat to swell so physicians surgically installed a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breathe.

Before the tracheotomy procedure, she had undergone another surgery to receive a heart valve replacement. Because of that heart surgery she had been prescribed anticoagulant Coumadin, which she would have to take for the rest of her life.

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imagesOn Jan. 12, 2009, Paul Vanderhoof was admitted to the hospital for the surgical removal of his gallbladder. This procedure is also called a cholecystectomy. During the surgery, the surgeon, Dr. Richard Berk, severed the patient’s common bile duct after he misidentified it as the cystic duct. Another surgeon was brought in to perform emergency reconstructive surgery to repair the severed duct.

Vanderhoof remained in the hospital for a week after the surgery during which time he was treated for an intermittent, controlled bile leak. A day after his discharge from the hospital he was readmitted with complaints of chest and abdominal pain. For the next two months, Vanderhoof remained an inpatient at two hospitals and a rehab nursing facility. He continued to suffer bile leakage, develop a large liver abscess and pneumonia and ultimately died of septic shock in the hospital on March 19, 2009.

Vanderhoof’s wife, Doris, brought a wrongful death and survival action lawsuit against the surgeon Dr. Berk and NorthShore University HealthSystem. Dr. Berk’s practice, NorthShore University HealthSystem Faculty Practice Associates, was later added as a defendant. When Doris Vanderhoof died, her daughter, Carol Vanderhoof, became the special administrator of her father’s estate. She filed an amended complaint claiming that during her father’s bile duct surgery, Dr. Berk “negligently and carelessly surgically transected” the common bile duct, “failed to perform the necessary precautionary methods to ensure a safe gallbladder removal,” and “failed to call for assistance from a specialist with expertise in biliary surgery” before cutting the common bile duct.

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UnknownJeannette Collins, 46, complained of abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea. She underwent testing, including a CT scan, at a hospital emergency room. The scan revealed a small bowel obstruction.

General surgeons Dr. Ahmad Nuriddin and Dr. Manohar Nallathambi performed surgery on Collins during which they identified a purported gastric outlet obstruction. Because of that blockage, a second procedure was done, which severed a nerve to reduce the reduction of acid. As a consequence of the surgery gone bad, Collins developed paralysis of the stomach and intestines. She now requires a diet of pureed foods.

Collins filed a lawsuit against the general surgeons, Drs. Nuriddin and Nallathambi and their practices, claiming they misdiagnosed her as having a gastric outlet obstruction and performed a second surgery without informed consent. Collins also claimed that these defendants should have ordered a preoperative upper endoscopy study, which would have ruled out gastric outlet obstruction.

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182028906In a confidential settlement, a 50-year-old woman underwent a microdiscectomy performed by a neurosurgeon. The patient’s blood pressure dropped after the procedure, and her condition then deteriorated.

A CT scan showed that the woman’s iliac artery was injured during the microdiscectomy. By the time the patient was transferred to another hospital for repair surgery, her medical status was severely compromised. Despite an emergency surgery to repair the artery, the patient died.

The patient was the owner of a small business earning about $25,000 per year. Her decedent now runs the business. She was survived by her husband and three adult children.

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Unknown-1Michael Banks was 39 years old when he underwent cervical spine surgery. Right after the surgery, he began to experience fever, chills and coughing. His wife called the office of the treating neurosurgeon, Dr. Shahram Rezaiamiri, and told one of the doctor’s medical assistants about her husband’s symptoms. The Banks family did not hear from the doctor, which prompted another call later that afternoon.

Dr. Rezaiamiri’s medical assistant, Teshara Hall, later returned the call to Banks’s wife and said she would pass along the message to Dr. Rezaiamiri. The doctor never called back.

Early the next morning, Banks suffered a fatal respiratory arrest. The cause of death was determined to be pneumonia resulting from bilateral Alpha Strep. Alpha Strep is also known as alpha hemolysis. This is sometimes referred to as green hemolysis because of the color change in the colony of bacteria. The Alpha Strep or alpha hemolysis is caused by hydrogen peroxide produced by bacteria and often leads to pneumonia.

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UnknownMichael Wagner was 48 and weighed 600 pounds. He underwent gastric bypass surgery performed by general surgeon Hans Schmidt M.D. and an assistant surgeon Sabastian Eid M.D. Wagner had been taking prophylactic the blood thinner, Heparin preoperatively.

After the surgery, the dosage Wagner was receiving was reduced to once per day. During the first postoperative day, he experienced a slow heartrate and respiratory arrest. However, Wagner was discharged the next day with instructions to have 64 ounces of daily fluids and to take frequent walks. No blood thinners like Heparin were prescribed.

Two days later, Wagner suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism. He had been a financial manager earning about $140,000 annually and is survived by his wife, one minor child and one adult child.

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unnamedMatthew Gulino, the husband of the plaintiff, Joanne Gulino, visited his primary care physician in October 2009 complaining of nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, chills and lightheadedness. The doctor diagnosed him with anxiety and prescribed Xanax after several tests showed the symptoms were not heart related.

Gulino returned to his doctor’s office two days later because the anti-anxiety medication wasn’t relieving his symptoms. Without doing any other tests, the doctor suggested that he see a psychiatrist.

The next day, Gulino visited the emergency room at Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Ill., for the same symptoms. Based on Gulino’s reported symptoms and his previous anxiety diagnosis, the emergency room physician concluded that he was experiencing an acute anxiety reaction and prescribed strong anti-anxiety medication.

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747910_self_portrait_2 1Donne Licudine, 20, was diagnosed with cholecystitis, the inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is the small organ near the liver that plays a part in the digestion of food. When the condition is acute, the patient experiences upper abdominal pain and there is usually an obstruction of the cystic duct.

Because of her medical condition, a general surgeon, Dr. Brendan Carroll, and a resident, Dr. Ankur Gupta, did a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which is the surgical procedure that removes the gallbladder. During that surgery, it was first discovered that Licudine had suffered a vascular injury. The doctors converted to an open procedure, which revealed a torn iliac vein. As a result, Licudine required three surgeries to repair her vascular injuries.

Licudine was a college rower. She was obviously a very active athlete. She now suffers from bowel adhesions, a six-inch scar from her abdomen to her sternum and severe depression as a result of her injuries. Licudine had planned to attend law school but has canceled those plans due to her medical condition.

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