200177292-001Butch Borden, 51, underwent lower back surgery by neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Staner. While Borden was recuperating, he developed weakness and sensory deficits in his legs. Dr. Staner instructed Borden to go to Brookwood Medical Center, where testing there revealed a small hematoma in the lower back. A hematoma is where a pool of blood gathers in an area of the body for different reasons. Borden was then admitted to the hospital.

While overnight in that hospital, Borden developed urinary incontinence and lost the use of both legs. This development was not communicated to any of Borden’s treating physicians, including Dr. Staner.

The next morning, however, Dr. Staner examined Borden and ordered an urgent CT scan and myelogram, which showed a large hematoma, another pool of collecting blood, compressing Borden’s cauda equina. The cauda equina, which is Latin for horse’s tail, is a bundle of spinal nerves and spinal nerve roots that run through the second to fifth lumbar nerves in the back. The compression of the cauda equina is a serious neurological condition and can cause loss of function. The cauda equina syndrome is caused by the compression of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.

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DownloadedFile-2Linda Lawson, 55, underwent a CT scan of her thoracic spine after she was experiencing leg and lower back pain. The scan was reported as being benign. Lawson’s symptoms continued and she had a lumbar CT scan 2 months later. The results of the CT were again reported by a second radiologist as being benign.

After her condition worsened, Lawson underwent an MRI, which showed a pelvic mass. She subsequently was diagnosed as having Stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which had spread to several lymph nodes and bones. She underwent aggressive inpatient treatment and is now in remission.

Lawson was a teacher earning about $40,000 annually and was unable to work for one year. She filed a lawsuit against Southwest Radiology, whose radiologist interpreted the first scan and the radiologist who read the second scan claiming that the radiologist chose not to timely diagnose her condition. Had she received an earlier diagnosis, Lawson argued she would have undergone less aggressive treatment on an outpatient basis.

Lawson settled with the second radiologist for a confidential amount. The jury awarded $640,000 against the first radiologist and the radiology practice.

The attorney representing Linda Lawson was Roger A. Johnson and Erin Voorhees.

Lawson v. Southwest Radiology, No. 11AO-CC00346 (Mo., Jasper Co. Cir. Sept. 13, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice cases, misdiagnosis of cancer cases and hospital negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Glen Ellyn, Roselle, North Aurora, Plainfield, Tinley Park, Chicago Heights, Buffalo Grove, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Gurnee, Grayslake, Crystal Lake, Highland Park, Niles, Westridge, Westmont and Lombard, Ill.

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thA 65-year-old woman, we’ll call her Ms. Doe, underwent a successful elective surgery at a California hospital and was later transferred to a private room. The woman was stable by midnight that day, but three hours later nurses found her unresponsive. A code blue was called and despite resuscitation efforts, Doe’s condition deteriorated. She died of cardiopulmonary arrest. Doe had been retired and was survived by her husband and two adult children.

The family of Doe sued the hospital and several nurses claiming that a malfunctioning medication pump had caused Doe to receive an overdose of morphine. In addition, the lawsuit claimed that an inadequate pulse oximetry alarms prevented the nurses from timely responding to Doe before she became unresponsive. The defendants denied that they had chosen not to attend to Doe’s hypoxia state in a timely fashion. Before trial, the parties settled for $375,000.

In some cases, morphine, which is an extremely potent pain drug, can give rise to severe and often deadly side effects for patients who have an intolerance to this drug.  There are many effective pain medication alternatives to the use of morphine for patients who have a history of harmful side effects.

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thA Cook County jury was deadlocked after four days of deliberation in a case in which the plaintiff claimed she underwent an unnecessary coronary bypass surgery. Maryann Giannetti was 52 years old when she underwent a stress test at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. She claimed she was suffering “vague” chest tightness on Aug. 14, 2006. During the stress test, she experienced ventricular tachycardia, which can be potentially fatal because of the irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. She experienced this condition while on a treadmill. A coronary angiogram was ordered.

The defendant, Dr. Uday Vyas, a cardiologist, and the defendant cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. William Bradshaw, interpreted the angiogram. They believed the angiogram showed 50% to 60% blockage of the opening of the left main coronary artery and 70% blockage of the proximal circumflex artery.

Because of the findings of blockage, the doctors ordered Giannetti to have a double coronary bypass surgery. She was never convinced that she needed the surgery and later showed the films to another cardiologist who told her there was no blockage whatsoever of any artery.

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thA Tuesday, July 15, 2014 a story in the Science section of the New York Times covered the circumstances in which doctors are faced with a dilemma in practice. They are reluctant to say to a patient or his or her family that they were sorry for a poor outcome in medical care. It has long been discussed whether doctors should approach patients and family members of patients to express regret or say the word “sorry” because of a bad outcome.

Many risk managers would stand in the way of doctors saying they were sorry for fear that those words might translate into an admission of wrongdoing, guilt and/or negligence.

The New York Times story, written by a physician, Abigail Zuger M.D., relates the medical issue to that of a plumber who worked in her home; a chain of events led to gushing water. Although the plumber wasn’t directly at fault for the problem, he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when he turned a bolt, screw or valve that was old and ready to break at anytime. The issue there was whether the plumber could have said “I’m sorry” without taking responsibility. The writer of this story wrote that saying, “I’m sorry” is not an expression of anything other than empathy and not an admission of fault.

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thLouis Davlantis, 58, underwent a left hip replacement. The orthopedic surgeon who did the surgery treated him for an infection the following month. He then followed up with primary care physician, Navneet Singh, M.D., who later cleared Davlantis for a right hip replacement.

About 3 months after the second surgery, Davlantis developed sepsis and other medical problems. The hip replacement hardware was then removed from both his right and left hips. As a result, Davlantis was unable to walk for 6 months. He subsequently underwent successful revision surgeries on both hips.

Davlantis filed a lawsuit against Dr. Singh alleging that he was negligent in clearing him for the second hip surgery when Davlantis displayed obvious signs of an ongoing infection such as an elevated sedimentation rate and high blood sugar.

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visual-guide-to-stroke-s1-diagram-cerebral-arteryA confidential settlement was reached with a physician for the injuries suffered by a patient after the physician neglected to rush the patient to a hospital. The 44-year-old woman patient suffered from mild hypertension and took birth control pills. After developing a migraine, she vomited violently.

The next day the patient experienced heaviness and limpness in her upper left arm and tingling and numbness in her entire left hand. That evening she called her doctor who was her primary care physician. The patient alleged that the doctor told her to take two Advil. The next morning the patient was unable to move. She was transported to a hospital where studies showed that she had suffered a mild cerebral artery infarct, a stroke.

The patient now suffers from aphasia and partial paralysis on her left side. She had been an accounting supervisor, but is now unable to work.

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th-2Walter Mankowski was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric carcinoma that had spread to his liver. Mankowski was 63 years old on March 3, 2009 when he was given that poor outlook diagnosis.

His treating oncologist told him that he had about 10 months to live with chemotherapy. His family searched for alternative treatment options and found the defendant, Keith Nemec, D.C., after doing an internet search. The defendant doctor Nemec, a chiropractor, had a website that claimed that “treatment at his facility could cure any and all diseases, including cancer by restoring the body to its natural state so God says that could cure the disease.”

Mankowski and his family decided to defer chemotherapy and instead he was admitted to the Total Health Institute in Wheaton, Ill., Nemec’s clinic, on March 23, 2009. Mankowski was there for a 3-4 week inpatient program. His treatment consisted of colonic hydrotherapy supplements that were designed to cleanse the body and a restricted diet of seed milk, vegetable juice and spinach soup.

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th-2In this medical malpractice case, plaintiff Daniel Hemminger sued defendants Jeffrey LeMay, M.D., and his medical practice for damages related to the death of Hemminger’s wife, Tina. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants chose not to diagnose and treat her cervical cancer in a timely fashion, which caused her death by lessening her chance of survival. At the close of the plaintiff’s case, the trial judge granted the defendants’ motion for directed verdict finding that Hemminger had failed to present sufficient evidence to show that Dr. LeMay’s negligence was the proximate cause of the woman’s death under a lost chance of survival theory. Hemminger took this appeal.

Tina Hemminger saw Dr. LeMay, an obstetrician/gynecologist, on June 23, 2000 complaining of abdominal pain and spotting. Dr. LeMay completed a pelvic examination, which showed that her cervix was abnormally large and firm. There was no biopsy ordered. Dr. LeMay did not order a microscopic examination of her cervix. About 6 months later, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her cancer was Stage 3B, which has a 5-year survival rate of 32%. She died of metastatic cervical cancer on April 7, 2002.

Her husband sued Dr. LeMay for medical negligence claiming that he was negligent in choosing not to order tests that would have detected his wife’s cervical cancer in 2000. The lawsuit further alleged that had Dr. LeMay diagnosed the cancer in June 2000 rather than in December 2000, she would have had a significantly better chance of surviving the cancer.

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th-5Ethel Bolton had been a resident of Glenshire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Richton Park, Ill. She was there from 2001 until 2006. During the years 2004 through 2006, she was cared for by internist Dr. Lance Wallace.

On July 7, 2005, Bolton had an abnormal albumin level of 3.2, which is a sign of malnutrition.

Beginning on Sept. 30, 2005, Bolton also had skin breakdowns and bedsores, which worsened over the next four months. On Jan. 29, 2006, Bolton’s daughter, Margaret, noticed at the nursing home that her mother was naked in a backroom in a general state of neglect showing signs of malnutrition, dehydration, emaciation and multiple areas of skin breakdown and bedsores.

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