In a medical malpractice case brought against an expert witness who was alleged to have misdiagnosed the plaintiff in a prior malpractice case, Philip W. Sandler sued Jerry J. Sweet, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who was retained as a defense expert when Sandler sued Downers Grove-based Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

Sandler asserted that Dr. Sweet chose not to correctly diagnose the extent of the brain injury he allegedly suffered because of Advocate’s negligence.

The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the judgment that dismissed the complaint against Dr. Sweet and explained, “Because physicians conducting medical examinations at the request of third parties assume a fundamentally different role from treating physicians, no physician-patient relationship exists between Dr. Sweet and the plaintiff and, therefore, Dr. Sweet owed no duty of care to the plaintiff.”
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Philip Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions including obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hyperventilation syndrome and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Hospital in Chicago several times leading up to his last admission in December 2007.

When he returned for an outpatient appointment, it was found that his labs were abnormal. He was admitted to the hospital. At the time of his admission, the pulmonary consulting services described him as suffering from a wide range of medical issues.

Madden was placed in respiratory isolation. A week after being admitted, he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. Madden was intubated and resuscitated, but he never regained consciousness and died later at a long-term care facility.
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Robert Dardenne experienced chest pain. With that symptom he went to a nearby hospital emergency department where the cardiologist on his case, Dr. Vibhuti Singh, ordered testing and observation at the hospital. After two days, Dr. Singh discharged Dardenne, telling him that his symptoms were not cardiac in nature.

Several months later, Dardenne, then 66 years old, suffered a fatal myocardial infarction. He was survived by his wife and one adult child.

His family and estate sued the hospital, claiming that Dr. Singh was negligent in choosing not to provide the appropriate follow-up medical care. The lawsuit also claimed that the testing was ambiguous and thus Dr. Singh should have performed a cardiac catheterization to determine whether Dardenne had a blockage in his arteries.
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According to a report in Modern Healthcare, the University of Colorado Health and its flagship hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, reduced the sepsis mortality rate by 15% in less than one year. In 2016, about 10% of patients with sepsis died from it. At the University of Colorado Hospital, officials conducted an internal study and found that some septic patients did not receive the needed antibiotics quickly enough. According to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), antibiotics should be given to patients with sepsis within three hours. The University of Colorado Health has found that patients regularly waited three hours or longer to get the needed antibiotic after sepsis was diagnosed.

At the University of Colorado Health, it was proven convincingly that if the patient receives antibiotics within an hour of the sepsis diagnosis, the sepsis death rate dropped by 50%. At the University of Colorado Hospital to reduce this response time, its officials developed a multi-step process that uses patients’ electronic medical records to identify patients who are at risk of sepsis. The electronic health records (EHR) monitors patients’ vital signs and alert a nurse of any abnormalities. The nurse then will check for other signs of sepsis and enter those symptoms into the EHR, which determines whether the patient has a low, medium or high probability of sepsis.

When patients are determined to have a medium or high probability of contracting sepsis, the hospital’s sepsis team, a group of caregivers made up of a nurse, pharmacist and a physician or advanced practitioner, who are dedicated to making quick sepsis diagnoses, are put into place. If the team determines that the patient is septic, antibiotics are immediately ordered and given. The prescription is marked as urgent to make sure that the pharmacist fills the order within the hour.
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During the discovery process in the case of Toni M. Morrison’s personal-injury lawsuit against Walmart, the company argued that she had to provide a written report from her treating physician, Dr. Daniel Mulconrey, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(B). The court stated that the report was required because Morrison intended to ask the doctor for expert testimony about three operations performed by other doctors, in addition to testifying about the medical treatment that he did provide.

Walmart’s motion to compel relied on the case of Meyers v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 619 F.3d 729 (7th Cir. 2010), which held that “a treating physician who has offered to provide expert testimony as to the cause of the plaintiff’s injury, but who did not make that determination in the course of providing treatment, should be deemed to be one ‘retained or especially employed to provide expert testimony in the case,’ and thus is required to submit an expert report in accordance with Rule 26(a)(2).”

The magistrate judge in the federal court in the Central District of Illinois, Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, explained that under “the plain language” of Rule 26(a)(2) – as amended a few months after the 7th Circuit decided Meyers – “Dr. Mulconrey is not a retained expert and does not have to comply with the reporting requirements of [S]ubsection (a)(2)(B).”
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The U.S. Supreme Court has prevented 592 nonresidents from joining 86 California residents in suing Bristol-Myers Squibb in California state court for personal injury allegedly caused by Plavix, a blood thinner. At the state level, the California Supreme Court concluded that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment did not bar the out-of-state residents from suing the corporation, BMS, in state court.

In the vigorous dissent written by Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s majority opinion explained, “The nonresidents were not prescribed Plavix in California, did not purchase Plavix in California, did not ingest Plavix in California and were not injured by Plavix in California.

The mere fact that other plaintiffs were prescribed, obtained and ingested Plavix in California – and allegedly sustained the same injuries as did the nonresidents – does not allow the state to assert specific jurisdiction over the nonresidents’ claims.”
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Rebecca Gaither was transported by ambulance to West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Ill., on Nov. 27, 2012 with complaints of rear lower head pain and vision loss in her right eye. At the emergency room, she complained of a sudden onset of neck pain with an immediate episode of seeing stars in her right eye.

The triage nurse assessed her blood pressure as elevated and assigned her to the next available treatment bed. During examination by an emergency department doctor, Gaither, who was just 47 years old at the time, reported a sudden onset of lost bilateral vision and sharp neck pain while she was reaching for a phone. Following a normal neurological exam, the ER doctor ordered CT scans of the head and neck with and without contrast, for a suspected dissection of the left vertebral artery.

However, Gaither collapsed and became unresponsive before the scans were done. She was immediately transferred from West Suburban Medical to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., where a CT angiogram showed a ruptured 1.6-centimeter aneurysm in the right ophthalmic artery, left vertebral artery dissection with arteriovenous fistula and extensive severe fibromuscular dysplasia.
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Russell Kazda, 50, developed a splinter wound in his right pinky finger. A hand specialist, Dr. James Schlenker, performed a surgical procedure to remove the splinter. In doing so, Dr. Schlenker opened Kazda’s palm to examine his tendon. About a week after this procedure, Kazda returned to Dr. Schlenker and was diagnosed as having an infection in that finger, which required debridements and skin grafting. Kazda now has significant disfigurement on his ring and pinky fingers resulting from that infection, which spread to the rest of his hand.

Kazda filed a lawsuit against Dr. Schlenker and his practice in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., maintaining that the doctor chose not to diagnose the infection and correctly prescribe IV antibiotics.

The lawsuit claimed that the infection, pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis, was already present before Dr. Schlenker performed the procedure to remove the splinter. The lawsuit also asserted that the follow-up appointment with Dr. Schlenker should have been scheduled for the day after the surgery, which would have prevented the infection from spreading to the rest of Kazda’s hand.
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Lynne Niemynski, 63, suffered from stress incontinence. She saw Dr. Arthur Thorpe Jr. a gynecologist, who recommended a transobturator urethral sling to improve her condition. She underwent this procedure.

However, for the next nine months, she complained of worsening symptoms, including bladder spasms, discharge and bleeding. Even with application of creams and other medications, her symptoms continued on.

Niemynski finally met with another gynecologist who examined her bladder and discovered a section of surgical mesh that had golf-ball sized crystalline stone growing from it.
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Graciela Gomez McCallum was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation for which she was prescribed Coumadin therapy and placed with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). She was in her mid-70s when she consulted with a cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Peter Garcia, and cardiologist Dr. Jose Marquez, who managed her cardiac care.

Approximately five years after Gomez McCallum began the Coumadin treatment, Dr. Marquez discontinued it. Several months later Gomez McCallum suffered a stroke that left her with left-sided paralysis and cognitive difficulties. She now requires care 24 hours a day.

She sued Dr. Marquez and his employer as well as Dr. Garcia alleging negligent discontinuation of Coumadin. The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Marquez had discontinued the blood thinner despite the patient’s history of chronic atrial fibrillation, chose not to confirm that she was no longer experiencing atrial fibrillation by evaluating her ICD downloads, and failed to consult with Dr. Garcia concerning his findings and recommendations.
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