images-2A wrongful-death case was brought against One Hope United Inc., one of its employees and the Cook County public guardian who was acting as administrator of 7-month-old Marshana Philpot. One Hope provides services to troubled families under a contract with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). One of its assignments from DCFS was to oversee Marshana and provide counseling to the child’s mother, Lashana Philpot.

Marshana had been hospitalized for failure to thrive and was eventually returned to Lashana Philpot under One Hope’s “intact family services” program. Unfortunately, the baby drowned in a bathtub allegedly because Lashana Philpot left her unattended.

In the wrongful-death case, the attorneys requested One Hope’s “priority review” report on the child’s death. The agency objected and invoked the privilege for self-critical analysis.

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images-1Three years after the death of Kathryn Moon, the plaintiff, Randall Moon, who served as executor of his mother’s estate, filed a wrongful death and survival action lawsuit against the defendants, Dr. Clarissa Rhode and Central Illinois Radiological Associates Ltd. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint stating that the complaint was filed untimely. The trial judge granted the defendants’ motion.

The plaintiff appealed arguing that the trial court was wrong in granting the defendants’ motion. The plaintiff contended that the discovery rule applied in that the statute of limitations did not begin to run until the date in which he knew or reasonably should have known of the defendants’ negligent conduct.

The decedent was Kathryn Moon, then 90, who was admitted to Proctor Hospital on May 18, 2009. Two days later, Dr. Jeffrey Williamson performed surgery on her. She remained in the hospital from May 20 to May 23, 2009 and then was seen by a different doctor from May 23 to May 28. She died on May 29, 2009.

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prov-150x150The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the emergency-room resident physician, Dr. Nicholas Strane, was immune from suit under the Illinois Emergency Medical Services System Act.

This case arises out of transporting an 11-year-old boy, Donail Weems, who had a severe asthma attack and was taken to Provident Hospital, which is managed by Cook County. One of the physicians who rode along in the ambulance was Dr. Strane, a University of Chicago Medical Center physician. The University of Chicago Medical Center asked the Illinois Appellate court, First District Court to address whether one of its doctors was immune under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.

The trial was held in July 2013; the presiding judge denied the hospital’s motion for summary judgment, which asserted civil immunity, but the judge certified the question for appellate review.

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bigstock-Senior-Woman-With-Adult-Daught-139162941-300x200In December 2009, Marion Peterson was admitted to Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital in Chicago because of respiratory distress. After several days in the intensive care unit, she was transferred to a stepdown unit and started on the anticoagulant Lovenox for atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat or an abnormal heart rhythm that can be characterized by rapid or irregular beating of the hart. Some would describe atrial fibrillation as a quivering heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat; it can be very dangerous and lead to stroke or heart attack or other health issues. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include lack of energy, dizziness and heart palpations.

On Dec. 18, 2009, Coumadin was initiated, which is another anticoagulant. However, Peterson, 72, became hypotensive and had a dangerously low blood pressure the next day, Dec. 19, 2009; she also experienced a 3 to 4 gm drop in her hemoglobin level.

She was then seen by several doctors until her internist, the defendant Dr. Danail Vatev, arrived. Once Dr. Vatev was involved in the medical care, he ordered a repeat hemoglobin test, a CT scan and other diagnostic studies. The hemoglobin test showed that Peterson had anemia, and Dr. Vatev ordered a blood transfusion, fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and vitamin K to reverse the anticoagulation effects.

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rotate_Hines_340x210Walter Hoover was 70 years old when he suffered a compression fracture in his back at L4. After the first rounds of treatment were found to be unsuccessful, he was transferred to a Veterans Administration Hospital where two neurosurgeons performed a corpectomy and diskectomy at L3-5 with placement of spinal instrumentation. This procedure was done to decompress the spine.

After the surgery, Hoover experienced paralysis in his left leg. Days later, he underwent additional surgeries to remove a misplaced surgical screw, reposition his surgically implanted hardware and to decompress his spinal cord.

Even after that series of surgeries, Hoover remained paralyzed and required multiple hospitalizations and treatments until he died several years later.

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imagesA Minnesota Appellate Court has held that expert testimony was required to prove a plaintiff’s claim that the paramedic’s negligent transfer was the cause of a patient’s ankle injury and later resulted in a leg amputation.

Mary C. suffered from various health problems and was a left-leg amputee. After she developed respiratory problems, Mary called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, she was being moved from her wheelchair to a stretcher. While she was being moved, she suffered a fractured right ankle. This fracture led to unsuccessful ankle surgeries followed by infection and ultimately the amputation of her right leg.

Mary C. sued the ambulance service, alleging its paramedics were negligent in transferring her to the stretcher and caused her fall and ankle fracture, which ultimately led to the amputation of her right leg. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that Mary had failed to serve the required affidavit of expert identification within the statutory time frame. The court granted defendant’s (the ambulance service) motion to dismiss.

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images-2More than 25 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corporation, in consolidated cases in the Louisiana federal district court regarding the serious side effects of the blood-thinning drug, Xarelto.

Xarelto has been associated with serious side effects, including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleeds and death.

It has been reported that thousands of individuals — patients who have been prescribed Xarelto as a blood-thinner  — have been affected. The presiding federal judge is Judge Eldon E. Fallon.

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thA $2.5 million wrongful-death judgment was entered in favor of the family of Walter Mankowski, who died on April 7, 2009. At that time, there was no special administrator appointed until after the deadline for suing, and the defendants moved to dismiss the case.

A probate estate was never opened for Walter Mankowski and Susan Mankowski, who filed the complaint on March 25, 2011 alleging that she was suing as “Special Administrator of the Estate of Walter Mankowski, deceased.” The problem is that a probate estate was not opened, and Susan did not request appointment as a special administrator under Section 2.1 of the Illinois Wrongful Death Act until Sept. 10, 2013.

The defendants argued that the initial complaint was a nullity because the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim and that an amended pleading could not “relate back.”

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images-1General practitioner physician Dr. Ram Thawani was the attending physician for Peter Gates during his hospitalization at Chicago’s South Shore Hospital on Oct. 23, 2009. Gates, 57, died from a brain herniation, which is a swelling of the brain, and a brain hemorrhage on Oct. 29, 2009. Gates was survived by his wife and seven daughters.

The Gates family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Thawani claiming that he was negligent in choosing not to order a CT scan of the head, despite complaints of severe headaches with pain, described as level 10 on a scale of 1-10. Gates was also taking a blood thinner, Coumadin, at the time.

The defendant doctor argued that the headaches had waxed and waned and were associated with a fever of recent onset. He also said there was no focal neurological deficits to point to any problem in the brain, and the brain hemorrhage was a sudden event that no surgical intervention could have averted.

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imagesEric Topol, M.D., is the director of Scripps Translational Science Institute, which is believed to be one of medicine’s most innovative programs about the digital future in medicine. The book written by Dr. Topol, “The Patient Will See You Now” was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review section on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.

Commenting on the future of medicine and how it will be administered, he writes, “We are about to see a medical revolution with little mobile devices. Smartphones will play a role well beyond a passive conduit.”

Dr. Topol’s book says smartphones will be used to accomplish what doctors in their offices and at hospitals have been doing for many decades. The author says smartphones will be able to perform blood tests, medical scans and even parts of the physical examination. This is what Dr. Topol calls “bottom-up medicine.”

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