thMargaret Brown, a 71-year-old retiree, was admitted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Ill., in October 2002 to undergo a coronary artery bypass surgery. During the initial stages of the bypass surgery, Brown suffered a pulmonary artery injury. It was claimed in the lawsuit that the artery injury was caused by the insertion of a Swan-Ganz catheterization.

The Swan-Ganz catheter is commonly used by passing a thin tube, which is the catheter, into the right side of the heart and the arteries leading to the lungs to monitor the heart’s blood flow or output during the surgery. The Swan-Ganz catherization is also used to inform doctors and surgeons of an abnormal blood flow. Its use is standard operating procedure for monitoring patient heart and blow flood output in invasive heart surgeries.

In this lawsuit, the family of Margaret Brown maintained that the use of the Swan-Ganz catheter was the cause of her death on Oct. 28, 2002. The family alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Gillen, was responsible. Their claim was medical battery in that the doctor chose not to obtain consent for the use of the Swan-Ganz catheter by the patient before the beginning of the surgery. Medical battery is a legal cause of action where the medical provider is claimed to have treated the patient without the patient’s consent.

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imagesMelvin Jones received a cervical laminectomy on Feb. 6, 2008 by surgeon Dr. Martin Luken. Dr. Charles Beck, an internist at the same hospital, evaluated Jones after the surgery. Jones developed gastrointestinal issues, and Dr. Beck ordered a series of tests. Dr. Beck remained involved with Jones’s care over the next several days.

Dr. Beck had a scheduled vacation, and so he turned over the gastrointestinal care to Dr. Shibban Ganju. Dr. Ganju ordered additional tests, but shortly afterwards, Jones’s colon perforated. Because of the colon perforation, Jones had his colon removed and had a permanent ileostomy tube installed. On Dec, 4, 2008, Jones and his wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Drs. Beck and Ganju as well as the hospital in which he had received care.

In the lawsuit,. Jones alleged that the doctors chose not to properly treat and diagnose his condition. His wife, Loleather Jones, filed a claim for loss of consortium. Both the hospital and Dr. Ganju settled the case before trial and left Dr. Beck to defend at trial.

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thAaron Hein, 35, saw his family practice physician, Dr. Jean Engelkemeir at the doctor’s clinic; he was complaining of left ear pain, nasal drip and sore throat. It was Sept. 17, 2008 when Dr. Engelkemeir diagnosed Hein with otitis externa (inflammation/infection of the outer ear canal) and an upper respiratory infection. Dr. Engelkemeir prescribed Floxin antibiotic eardrops.

Hein called the doctor’s clinic two days later, Sept. 19, 2008 and told Dr. Engelkemeir that he was experiencing vertigo and nausea. The doctor prescribed Meclizine, which is an antihistamine.

Hein returned to the clinic on Sept. 22, 2008 and was seen by a different doctor at which time his outer ear pain, vertigo and nausea were improving, but his eardrum was bulging.

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imagesMichael Jacobs, 32, suffered a compression fracture in his back at L1. For that condition he was seen by neurosurgeon Dr. Mudit Sharma, who prescribed pain medicine and a back brace. Jacobs’s condition then improved and he returned to full-time work. At a follow-up appointment, Dr. Sharma told Jacobs that he required a spinal surgery in which the surgeon would inject a kind of cement into the spinal bones.

Jacobs agreed to undergo the surgery. As a result of the surgery going awry, Jacobs claimed that he suffered a nerve injury that has left him with chronic pain and required expensive daily narcotic medications. He also alleged that the surgery caused leg atrophy. Jacobs was a construction superintendent earning about $98,000 a year before his fracture and surgery. Jacobs missed about 30 days of work because of the surgery,

Jacobs filed a lawsuit against Dr. Sharma and the owner of his practice group claiming that Dr. Sharma was negligent in performing the unnecessary back surgery. The lawsuit maintained that Jacobs was not an appropriate candidate for this spinal surgery and that Dr. Sharma had misplaced bone drills during the surgical procedure, which allowed hot cement to enter Jacobs’s spinal canal.

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th-2Ms. Doe, 33, was injured in a car accident. She underwent leg surgery after the car crash. Her uninjured left leg was kept in the hemilithotomy position for more than six hours. While the injured leg was being repaired, which is held straight in traction, the uninjured leg is positioned above and is bent. Because of the position of the good leg, it does require some repositioning during a lengthy surgery like this. However, in this case, Ms. Doe was later diagnosed with compartment syndrome in her left leg, the uninjured leg, which necessitated surgery.

Ms. Doe underwent rehabilitation and was fitted with orthotics, but now she has difficulty walking and climbing stairs. Her medical expenses related to the uninjured left leg were $8,600.

Ms. Doe filed a lawsuit against her treating orthopedic surgeon and the hospital claiming that the defendants chose not to timely reposition her uninjured leg and timely diagnose compartment syndrome. The lawsuit did not request lost income.

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th-1Ms. Doe, 17, experienced back and abdominal pain in her 34th week of the pregnancy. She was admitted to a local hospital where her condition deteriorated over the next several days.

Ms. Doe was then diagnosed as having sepsis and placed on a ventilator. After giving birth to her daughter, Ms. Doe’s respiratory status worsened, prompting a Code Blue. Despite efforts to resuscitate, she suffered a hypoxic brain injury resulting in cognitive impairment. Ms. Doe now requires 24-hour care and lives in a nursing home facility.

The lawsuit against the hospital claimed that the hospital’s respiratory therapists chose not to properly adjust Ms. Doe’s ventilator settings. It was alleged that the settings or the lack of the proper settings was the cause of Ms. Doe’s brain injury. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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thThe Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed a decision of a Cook County circuit court judge dismissing a legal malpractice case because of the running of the statute of limitations barred the plaintiff from filing suit.

On Feb. 4, 2005, Rose Anne Godbold underwent a positron emission tomography scan in a clinic run by Advocate Medical Group and overseen by Brian McMahon. Sometime between August and September 2005, Godbold became aware that the protocols that had been followed in her scan and results had been concealed. The primary consequence of this was that Godbold had Hodgkin’s disease, which a properly performed positron emission tomography would have detected. However, Godbold did not discover that she had the disease until June 18, 2007.

Godbold hired lawyers to pursue a medical negligence case. She hired the Chicago law firm of Karlin & Fleischer LLC. The firm forwarded to Godbold a retainer agreement on Nov. 10, 2008 and the request for medical authorization and a cost advanced payment of $2,500.

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thRobert Cruz filed a lawsuit alleging medical negligence against Dr. Robert R. Schenk and Hand Surgery Ltd., his medical practice, claiming that Dr. Schenk had chosen not to follow the standard of care. In his lawsuit, Cruz said Dr. Schenk used excessive injections and failed to adequately explore or treat the superficial radial right nerve, all of which, it was claimed, injured Cruz.

The jury trial proceeded without incident, but during the jury deliberations, the jury sent two questions to the trial judge. The first one was, “Is the Jury making a decision on how Mr. Cruz got originally hurt or are we making a decision on the quality of care that . . . provided?” The second question was, “After reading the ‘proximate cause statement’ is the jury correct to assume to interpret it in the following way: That if we, the jury, believe that Dr. Schank (sic) is not the only cause for Mr. Cruz’s injury, then we decide with the defense?”

The trial judge met with the parties to discuss the court’s response. The attorney for Cruz stated that the jury’s question should be answered “specifically and accurately.” However, the lawyer did not provide what response should be given to the jury by the judge and gave no written response to the court to give to the jury.

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th-1On March 10, 2007, Ramona Sue Yates was a patient in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, Ill. She complained of severe back and abdominal pain. The defendant, emergency room physician, Dr. Daniel Doolittle, who was employed by the defendant Legatus Emergency Services, chose not to correctly diagnose or even suspect that Yates was suffering from a bowel obstruction and internal hernia.

Two years earlier, Yates, 47, had undergone gastric bypass surgery. Bowel obstruction is a known complication for patients following the weight-loss surgery.

Dr. Doolittle reportedly misdiagnosed Yates as having back spasms and had her admitted to the hospital for observation. Unfortunately, Yates died from the bowel obstruction the next day, March 11, 2007. She is survived by her husband and an adult son. She was employed as a nurse at a mental health facility.

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th-2Joel Burnette was just 40 years old with bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. He underwent a lumbar epidural steroid injection at a pain clinic to combat his back pain. The following week Burnette developed a lump at the epidural injection site. Burnette informed nurses at the pain clinic, and he was told by a nurse that this was not something to be concerned about. Days later, Burnette received a second epidural injection. After that second injection, Burnette developed an epidural abscess, deep tissue infection and MRSA meningitis and was diagnosed as having cauda equina syndrome, which left him with chronic pain, among other problems.

Cauda equina is a condition in which the nerves in the spine are compressed. MRSA meningitis is an uncommon disease that affects the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can be fatal. MRSA alone is a bacterial infection that if not treated and eradicated by intense antibiotic treatment can be deadly. Burnette unfortunately later committed suicide

Burnette was survived by his parents who sued the anesthesiologist, Kimber Eubanks, M.D. and the pain clinic claiming that all were negligent in choosing not to identify the infection after the first injection and giving a second injection to an infected patient.

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