In this case, a manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical Inc., sold a surgical device, the robotic surgical system, to a hospital, Harrison Medical Center, which credentialed some of its physicians to perform surgery with the device. The surgical device is a robotic surgery tool called the “da Vinci System.”

At the trial, an expert urologist for Josette Taylor, the wife of Fred E. Taylor who died four years after undergoing a failed prostatectomy surgery by the robotic device, opined that the surgeons must be credentialed in order to use the da Vinci System. The doctor testified that the da Vinci robotic surgical system is one of the most complex devices used in surgical procedures.

The manufacturer’s warnings regarding that device were at the heart of this case: whether the manufacturer owed a duty to warn the hospital that purchased the device. The manufacturer argued that since it warned the physician who performed the surgery, it had no duty to warn any other party.
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George Hand, 63, developed incontinence and a swollen prostate. He consulted with urologist Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez who suggested using transurethral microwave therapy to heat up the prostate and cause it to shrink.

During the transurethral microwave therapy procedure, Dr. Gonzalez placed the transurethral device and then left the room. The medical technician who took over for the doctor continued the procedure, which burned a hole through Hand’s rectum and urethra, causing a great deal of pain. Ice was applied to alleviate Hand’s pain, but Dr. Gonzalez did not stop the procedure.

As a result of the injury suffered in this errant therapy procedure, Hand developed a fistula, which necessitated a colostomy. Hand is now permanently incontinent and impotent. He was a truck driver earning about $52,000 per year but has now lost his job due to his inability to drive after his injuries.
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On October 30, 2009, J.S. (DOB: 5/7/09) suffered a bilateral tension pneumothorax at the defendant hospital which resulted in a cardiopulmonary arrest for 23 minutes. A bilateral tension pneumothorax is a medical emergency which requires immediate treatment. This 6-month old child was a post-cardiac surgical patient who suffered from chronic lung disease and was ventilator dependent. He was at an elevated risk of suffering from pneumothoraxes.

He also was born premature and was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. It was anticipated before this event that J.S. would have been discharged the next day.

By 9:30 p.m. that night, J.S.’s treating physicians should have entertained a differential diagnosis that included pneumothorax (collapsed lung) based upon J.S.’s clinical presentation (ashen colored, diminished and labored breathing), as well as pH of 7.15. The standard of care was a stat chest x-ray at bedside.

Kristine Haveman, 38, collapsed at home and was brought to a nearby hospital in an unresponsive condition. The emergency room personnel examined her and ordered a CT scan. Doctors interpreted the scans as normal. That evening a neurologist diagnosed a thrombus in the left cerebral artery, which necessitated thrombolytic therapy.

Because of the delay in diagnosis and treatment, she suffered cognitive deficits resulting in problems with speech and word retrieval. She also has experienced fatigue and right-sided weakness. She had been a teacher who planned to return to work but is now unable to do so.

Haven filed a lawsuit against Dr. Kenneth Dirk, an emergency room physician and his employer, Oregon Emergency Physicians, claiming that these defendants’ negligence was the cause of an eight-hour delay in administering thrombolytic medication.The lawsuit claimed that the CT scan had been misinterpreted and that Haveman was wrongfully treated with Ativan for anxiety and emotional problems before the neurologist’s stroke diagnosis.
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Janice Rowland, 59, underwent a Pap smear that was interpreted as normal. Two and half years later, she developed post-menopausal bleeding and pelvic pain. She then underwent a cervical biopsy. The biopsy led to a diagnosis of metastatic cervical cancer, and she died several months later. Rowland was survived by her husband.

On behalf of her estate, her husband sued Quest Diagnostics, which was the company that misread the Pap smear. It was alleged in the lawsuit that its cytotechnologist misinterpreted the Pap smear slides. If read correctly, the slide would have showed evidence of cancer and necessitated review by a pathologist. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The jury signed a verdict for $4 million. However, it was reported that post-trial motions are pending.
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Deborah Larkin, 42, underwent laparoscopic surgery. Over the next two days she complained of severe pain even with the use of medication. Larkin also developed tachycardia, low sodium levels, hypotension and an abnormally high white blood cell count.

A kidney physician, a nephrologist, diagnosed sepsis prompting the surgeon to order a swallow study which did not show any internal leakage. However, the laboratory results did show decreased CO2 and increased lactate levels.

Larkin’s conditioned worsened. She was transferred to intensive care the next day in respiratory distress with kidney failure. The surgeon performed exploratory surgery, which revealed that a 4-millimeter gastric leak was the cause of Larkin’s septic shock.
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago has overturned a summary judgment order that was entered by a U.S. District Court judge over whether an insurance company, Sun Life & Health Insurance Co. (U.S.), should pay death benefits to the husband of the plaintiff when he died after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

Sun Life had moved for summary judgment claiming it was not responsible for paying the $92,000 death benefit to Lee Ann Prather, the wife of the decedent, Jeremy Prather. Prather injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. About two weeks after his surgery to repair the tendon, he died at age 31. A blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) developed in his injured leg and had broken loose and traveled to his lung. The clot or pulmonary embolism caused cardiac arrest and his subsequent death.

Sun Life declined to pay the $92,000 benefit on the ground that Prather’s injury on the basketball court was not the sole cause of his death. Instead, Sun Life argued that the surgery that Prather underwent following the injury was a contributing factor to his death.
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Michael Sebestl, 37, experienced the sudden onset of severe chest pain. This occurred at home around 6 a.m. on June 1, 2008. He told his wife he thought he was having a heart attack, so she called 911 and he was taken by ambulance to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill. On the way to the hospital, he told the paramedics that he had a history of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and that his current symptoms were similar to those but worse than he had ever experienced.

At Riverside Hospital, Sebestl continued to complain of chest pain and a burning sensation on the back of his throat, which was worse when lying on his back. He was examined by the defendant emergency room physician Dr. Manczko, who was near the end of his 12-hour shift. Dr. Manczko interpreted the EKG as normal, ordered a chest x-ray and made a provisional diagnosis of GERD.

Then the care was turned over to another defendant ER physician, Dr. Donna Bell. After the x-ray came back negative, Dr. Bell decided to conduct a more thorough evaluation and ordered further testing, which included a second EKG and blood work for serial cardiac enzymes, Lipase and D-Dimer levels. After all the tests came back normal and the patient’s pain was reduced with narcotic pain medications to a level of 3 out of 10, Dr. Bell diagnosed GERD and discharged Sebestl from the hospital around noon that day.
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In this medical negligence case, the Illinois Appellate Court took an interlocutory appeal on an issue of first impression regarding the application of the Petrillo doctrine on a unique set of facts. The plaintiff, Jacqueline McChristian, who was injured by a podiatrist, Dale Brink, DPM, claimed that the trial court violated the Petrillo doctrine when it permitted ex parte communications between McChristian’s treating podiatrist and the defense counsel of Performance Foot and Ankle Center LLC, which was a defendant in the case in which the treating podiatrist is a member.

The court was asked to answer a question of first impression that was whether defense counsel, who represents the defendant Dr. Dale Brink and the defendant Performance Foot and Ankle LLC, is prohibited from conducting ex parte communications with McChristian’s treating podiatrist, Dr. Timothy Krygsheld, who is also a member, and in the control group of the defendant.

The plaintiff argued that under the Petrillo doctrine, ex parte communications are barred between plaintiff’s treating podiatrist and defense counsel, in order to preserve the patient’s trust and confidence in her podiatrist, as well as to honor the podiatrist’s duty as a fiduciary to refrain from helping the patient’s legal adversary.
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When Chelsea Weekley was about five months old, she suffered a skull fracture. The fracture expanded over time and a cyst was formed on her skull. At age 17, Chelsea was hit on the head and suffered a loss of consciousness, blurred vision and dizziness.

After CT and MRI scans confirmed the extent of the skull fracture and cyst, Chelsea underwent a canaloplasty surgery to repair the fracture and the area where the cyst had formed. The surgery was done at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis by the defendant Dr. Ann Flannery, a neurosurgeon, and by Dr. Raghuram Sampath, a neurosurgical resident.

Chelsea was discharged a day after the surgery and was found dead in her bed just three days later. An autopsy was completed, which found that Chelsea had died from a seizure brought about by the surgical damage.
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