Donald Zuk, 81, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib). He had been taking the prescription medication Amiodarone for 17 years.

Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic medication used to treat and prevent different types of irregular heartbeats. The drug can be used to prevent ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and wide complex tachycardia. The medicine can also be appropriate for atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. It is taken orally.

In this case, Zuk’s cardiologist, Dr. David Cannom, doubled the dosage of the Amiodarone after the patient experienced breakthrough AFib. After taking the increased dosage for several months, Zuk complained of different negative side effects. This prompted a chest x-ray that showed interstitial change in the left upper lobe. Dr. Cannom recommended a follow-up visit.
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Kevin Clanton, 28, underwent a pre-employment screening and was told that he had high blood pressure. He went to a federally financed public healthcare facility where he met with nurse practitioner Denise Jordan. She noted that he had severe hypertension with blood pressure readings of 210/170. Jordan ordered lab work and diagnosed high cholesterol and obesity in addition to hypertension. She gave Clanton medication samples and told him to follow up with her the next week so that he could receive his work clearance.

Clanton did not follow up with Jordan as instructed. About two years later, his employer told him that he needed medical care due to his high blood pressure. For the next year, Clanton consulted again with Jordan who attempted to lower his blood pressure with various medications and address his symptoms such as blurred vision.

Clanton often took extended absences from his treatment and stopped consulting with Jordan for 15 months before resuming treatment with her. Lab tests taken at his latest visit showed that he had Stage IV chronic kidney disease. Clanton was not advised of this condition.
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In a confidential report of this case, Doe, age 55, underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed by a surgeon and partner. During the procedure, the surgeon was concerned that one of the trocars used could have perforated the patient’s small bowel. A trocar is a medical device used in surgery and placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon told his associates, including his partner, that if the patient developed complications after her discharge, the diagnosis of a perforated small bowel should be considered.

The patient later called the surgical group advising them that she was experiencing persistent vomiting and severe pain. The surgeon advised her to go to the emergency room. There the patient reported severe abdominal pain. Testing revealed an elevated white count, and a CT scan showed extensive free air and fluid in her naval area. At the hospital, a radiologist diagnosed a possible perforation related to the recent surgery, a small bowel obstruction and an abdominal abscess.
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Carson Sofro, 33, was diagnosed with having a malignant tumor in his colon. He underwent a resection performed by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Karsten at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. After removing the tumor, Dr. Karsten connected the colon and small bowel.

Sofro suffered a variety of symptoms after the surgery, including pain, vomiting and bloating. He sought treatment at St. Luke’s and was told that his symptoms were a normal complication of the surgery. Sofro continued to experience these symptoms for more than two years before being diagnosed as having a 360-degree twist in his small bowel. That condition required another resection, causing him to miss one month of work from his job as the owner of a basketball camp.

Sofro filed a lawsuit against St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center alleging liability by Dr. Karsten choosing not to ensure that the small bowel was not twisted before creating the anastomosis. There was a claim of lost income of $15,000. Anastomosis is a surgical procedure connecting adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine or other channels of the body.
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Mary Stevenson was 55 years old when she was taken to the hospital suffering from a severe headache and shortness of breath. At the hospital, she was diagnosed as having hypertension; a doctor prescribed blood pressure medication. She also underwent blood work before being discharged to her home.

Within hours of her discharge, she began to experience seizures and vomiting. She was rushed to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis. She lost consciousness and died just two weeks later. She is survived by her two adult children.

One of Stevenson’s daughters, individually and on behalf of her estate, sued two doctors who treated her at the first hospital maintaining that they chose not to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis.
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A lawsuit arising from the death of Jeannette Turner first resulted in a jury verdict of $22.1 million in this medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit. Sadly, Turner died the night before the jury’s verdict. According to the report of this Illinois Appellate Court case, her death transformed her medical malpractice lawsuit into a survival claim for Joi Jefferson, Turner’s daughter and the special representative of her estate.

As a result, Jefferson was unable to recover compensation that was awarded for any future injuries Turner would have suffered.

“Compensatory tort damages are intended to compensate plaintiffs, not to punish defendants,” Justice Mary Anne Mason wrote in the 23-page opinion. “We would run afoul of this principle if we allowed Jeannette’s estate to collect an award for future injuries Jeannette will no longer suffer. For this reason, we limit plaintiff’s recovery to compensation for injuries Jeannette suffered prior to her death.”
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A 6-year-old child suffered from fatigue, constipation, fever, pain and sleeping difficulties for several weeks. The girl was brought to a federal health clinic by her parents. A nurse practitioner examined her, diagnosed constipation and prescribed a suppository and juice. Two days later, a pediatrician confirmed the same misdiagnosis and prescribed MiraLax.

The child’s condition continued to deteriorate. Her parents brought her to the hospital a few days later. At that time, an x-ray showed a massive distension of the child’s spleen and an enlarged liver.

The girl was then life-flighted to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
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This lawsuit arose out of a wrongful-death and medical malpractice case brought by the plaintiff, Lawanda Freeman. She was the special administrator of the estate of her deceased husband, Terrance Freeman. In her complaint against the defendant, Gayle R. Crays, M.D., she alleged that Dr. Crays was negligent in the treatment of Terrance’s cardiovascular disease and that negligence was the proximate cause of Terrance’s death. Right before the trial was set to start, the trial judge ruled that Freeman’s only expert witness was unqualified to offer any opinions on the issue of causation, thus creating a fatal evidentiary gap in the plaintiff’s case.

In response to the trial judge’s ruling barring this expert witness, Freeman moved to voluntarily dismiss her complaint. The trial judge granted the voluntary dismissal without prejudice.

Shortly thereafter, Freeman refiled her complaint. Upon learning that Freeman intended to disclose an additional or new medical expert witness to offer opinions on the issue of causation, Dr. Crays’ lawyers moved to adopt the rulings from the earlier case and bar any testimony of plaintiff’s newly disclosed expert opinion pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219(e).
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The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled that Judith Simpkins’s amended complaint against St. Elizabeth’s Hospital was not timed-barred. The Illinois Appellate Court denounced discovery that includes the series of “routine practices” including boilerplate objections and “dump truck disclosures” as amounting to a “misuse of the discovery process” that “should not be accepted by our trial courts.”

A dissent was filed by Justice Richard P. Goldenhersh who said that the majority’s directions “invade the discretionary province of the trial court in determining discovery disputes. The circuit court on remand is perfectly capable of resolving these and similar discovery disputes without appellate mandate predetermining the exercise of their discretion.”

The appeals panel majority stated that discovery is not a tactical game, but rather a procedural tool for ascertainment of truth for purposes of promoting either a fair trial or a fair settlement. Ostendorf v. International Harvester, 89 Ill.2d 273 (1982). The Illinois Supreme Court rules regarding discovery represent our Supreme Court’s best efforts to manage the complex and important process of discovery. Sullivan v. Edward Hospital, 209 Ill.2d 100 (2004).
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In an unfortunate suicide by Keith Stanphill, a lawsuit was brought by Zachary Stanphill against a social worker, Lori Ortberg, and the hospital with which she was affiliated. She saw Keith Stanphill at Rockford Memorial Hospital just nine days before his suicide. Ortberg is a licensed clinical social worker.

During the jury instruction conference, the defendants requested and were granted leave to submit to the jury a special interrogatory. The special interrogatory followed the format approved by the Illinois Appellate Court in Garcia v. Seneca Nursing Home, 2011 IL App (1st) 103085.

The special interrogatory asked: “Was it reasonably foreseeable to Lori Ortberg on Sept. 30, 2005 that Keith Stanphill would commit suicide on or before Oct. 9, 2005?”
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