40This confidential settlement took place because of the death of a 62- year-old man who had a long history of smoking. He was also obese. The patient, who we will call Mr. Doe, suffered lethargy, a fever and general weakness, and he also had sharp chest pain for two days. He went to a hospital emergency room. It was there that he underwent testing that included an EKG. The report on the EKG was normal.

Mr. Doe was diagnosed as having a virus, and he was discharged with instructions to follow up with his primary care physician.

Three days later, he suffered tachycardia, which is shortness of breath and chest burning. Mr. Doe was taken to the hospital where an EKG showed evidence of myocardial infarction, a heart attack. Before he could be transferred to a different hospital, he died. He was survived by his wife.

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UnknownMyrna Rawdin underwent an MRI to rule out a brain tumor. She was 63 years old at the time. The MRI results showed no tumor, but it did not rule out a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Over one year later, when she experienced lightheadedness, garbled speech and headaches lasting three days, she consulted her internist, Dr. Mark Real. Dr. Real diagnosed impacted earwax and irrigated Rawdin’s ears.

At the end of the same month, she suffered a massive stroke that left her with left-sided weakness, including foot drop and almost no use of her left arm. She continues to require weekly physical therapy and is confined to a wheelchair.

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Unknown-2Paul Bartholomew, 73, had a history of prostate cancer and placement of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter to protect him from blood clots. Ten years after receiving the IVC filter, he reported he had blood in his urine. When he saw his family physician, Dr. Ina Itzkovitz, she prescribed an antibiotic and ordered testing to rule out cancer.

Bartholomew returned to Dr. Itzkovitz complaining of the new onset of low back pain, bilateral leg stiffness, fatigue and low blood pressure. Dr. Itzkovitz ordered an X-ray, diagnosed arthritis and prescribed pain medication.

Just two days later, he died. The cause of death was determined to be internal bleeding caused by a damaged IVC vein which came on by an eroded IVC filter. In the lawsuit that was filed, the doctor was alleged to have misdiagnosed those symptoms. Bartholomew was survived by his four adult children.

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UnknownPerry Pace was seven weeks old when he experienced viral symptoms, including chronic diarrhea and frequent vomiting for one week. Perry was transported by ambulance to a hospital emergency room where he was seen by an emergency physician, Dr. Patrick Hawley. The doctor examined Perry and diagnosed a viral infection before discharging the baby with instructions to take Pedialyte and instructed Perry’s mother to let the virus run its course.

Three days later Perry died as a result of dehydration. The child is survived by his mother. Ms. Barker, who sued Dr. Hawley alleging he chose not to diagnose and treat Perry’s early dehydration. Ms. Barker asserted that Dr. Hawley spent only five minutes with Perry and chose not test his blood and urine, administer IV fluids or consult the paramedics, who observed Perry as having lethargy and impaired respirations during his transport to the emergency room.

Ms. Barker also sued the hospital claiming liability for its nurse’s failure to recognize Perry was mildly dehydrated or at risk for dehydration, chose not to take an adequate history and go up the chain of command when Dr. Hawley chose not to run a fluid challenge test.

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images-1On Aug. 17, 2012, 66-year-old Maria Giotta underwent an outpatient CT scan with contrast at the Presence Resurrection Hospital. She began to experience an adverse reaction to the contrast solution during the scan, but the CT technician chose not to recognize or appreciate her dilemma. The CT technician discharged her from his care despite the fact that she was still hot, flushed and dizzy.

Just moments after she left the radiology department she experienced a fainting episode in the hospital hallway and collapsed to the floor landing on her left hand. Giotta sustained displaced proximal phalanx fractures of all four fingers on the left hand, two of which were open fractures requiring emergency open reduction internal fixation and six months of physical therapy. She had expended $32,340 for medical expenses. She continues to have permanent left hand stiffness, pain and limited grip strength.

Her attorneys, Michael S. Fiorentino and Samantha L. Israel, represented her and made a demand before trial of $395,000. Giotta’s attorneys asked the jury in closing argument to return a verdict of $1.6 million. The only offer made by the hospital to settle this case was $75,000.

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images-1A trial judge in Jackson County, Ill., refused to follow the case law found in Stanton v. Rea, 2012 IL App (5th) 110187 when calculating the amount of the hospital’s lien amount. In the case of Alma McVey, who was injured after a waitress dropped a tray of drinks on her foot, the issue was how much Memorial Hospital-Carbondale would receive for its $2,891 medical services bill still unpaid.

McVey settled her personal-injury case against the waitress’s employer for $7,500. Under Stanton, attorney fees and litigation expenses should have been deducted from the settlement before calculating the hospital’s share of the settlement. The judge in the McVey case ruled that McVey’s attorney was entitled to $2,250; the hospital would receive $2,500 and the remaining $2,750 would go to the plaintiff, McVey.

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 5th District reversed that ruling, concluding that “the trial court erred in refusing to follow Stanton and begin calculations after the settlement has been reduced by attorney fees and costs.”

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mainOn May 21, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed a general rule as a matter of law with respect to suicide. Maria Turcios brought a wrongful death lawsuit based on her husband’s suicide. The lawsuit alleged that it was caused by the defendant’s intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit was filed against DeBruler Company as the agent for Colonial Park Apartments. Her husband was Nelsyn Caceras, who was also known as Ricardo Ortiz. The plaintiff alleged that she and her family had suffered through many efforts by the defendant apartment complex to throw the family out of their apartment stating that the building was being demolished. In fact, the apartment building was torn down.

The Supreme Court reviewed de novo the trial judge’s grant of the defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s wrongful death and survival claims. The Illinois Appellate Court vacated the order and remanded the case. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the dismissal order.

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images-1In a confidential arbitration and settlement, Mr. Doe, age 64, suffered severe injuries in a car accident. Doe was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed as having angle closure glaucoma, a condition in which the iris bulges forward to block the eye’s drainage system. Mr. Doe was given drops, a topical steroid, and an antibiotic. For several days, the doctors continued to watch Mr. Doe determining that he was not yet a candidate for eye surgery due to his weakened physical condition caused by the car accident.

About 2 ½ weeks after the car crash, Mr. Doe was discharged with instructions to follow up with an eye clinic in two weeks. However, Mr. Doe’s vision deteriorated, and he was later taken to a hospital emergency room. At that hospital he underwent emergency bilateral iridotomies. A laser iridotomy uses a focused beam of light making a hole on the outer edge or rim of the iris. The opening allows fluid to flow between the front part of the eye and the area behind the iris. The iridotomy is also the procedure used in angle closure glaucoma patients. Despite this intervention, Mr. Doe now has a lack of light perception in his left eye and only the ability to count fingers at four feet in his right eye.

Mr. Doe brought this lawsuit against the ophthalmologist who supervised his care at the hospital claiming the doctor chose not to properly treat the angle closure glaucoma by, among other things, ordering frequent checks of his intraocular pressures, performing timely laser iridotomies, examining him in the days before his discharge from the hospital and arranging for immediate follow-up care. Mr. Doe did not claim any lost income. At an arbitration, Mr. Doe received an award of $3 million for his damages. The attorney representing Mr. Doe was Kevin Donius.

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imagesKent Higgins inhaled chlorine gas at the Holiday World Amusement Park when the ride he was on malfunctioned. Higgins suffered chronic asthma and reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, or RADS, as a result of the alleged negligence of the defendant, Koch Development, the owner of Holiday World Amusement Park.

Higgins, the plaintiff, hired a causation expert physician, but the doctor was barred. The issue was whether this expert could be substituted with his treating pulmonologist to act as his expert under the guidelines of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

The trial judge barred Higgins’s causation expert. He then offered up his treating pulmonologist to act as his expert on causation. The district court judge found that the treating physician was unqualified to opine on the effect chlorine gas has on the human pulmonary system. The basis of the barring was under the Daubert criteria and methodology, which was found to be too uncertain to determine its reliability.

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dsc_5632-e1376685182828-150x150Koni Johnson filed suit against two emergency physicians and their employer, Cook County, alleging the doctors were negligent in their treatment of her spinal cord injury. She had gone to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, a/k/a Cook County Hospital a day after she slipped and fell injuring her back.

Johnson alleged that the county violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1395dd) by choosing not to provide appropriate screening and to stabilize her medical condition before discharging her.

Cook County, which owns and operates Stroger Hospital, requested summary judgment based on Sections 6-105 and 6-106 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. The defendants argued they had provided appropriate treatment for the condition the emergency room doctors diagnosed, which was muscle spasm and back and buttocks bruises.

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