In this case of medical malpractice, the trial court refused to allow the plaintiff to name a pediatric oncologist as one of her expert witnesses. The plaintiff, Kelli Boehle, used what is called a “strategic voluntary dismissal” in order to name a new additional expert. Right after refiling the case under Section 13-217 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Boehle listed the same pediatric oncologist that the trial court had originally denied as being tardy.

The defendants relied on Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219(e), which lists a set of authorized consequences for “refusal to comply” with discovery/pretrial rules and orders. They moved to bar Boehle from using the oncologist as an expert in the refiled case.

Although the trial judge denied the motion because Boehle had not engaged in any sanctionable conduct in the first case, the judge certified two questions for immediate review under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308. Both questions raised to call for yes/no answers focused on whether Rule 219(e) should be interpreted to “prevent Boehle from naming the oncologist as one of her experts in the revived litigation.
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On Oct. 5, 2012, the defendant in this case, Dr. Yasser Alhaj-Hussein, completed a celiac plexus block procedure designed to lessen or alleviate the pain that Kathy Arient was experiencing in her abdominal area. The procedure was done at Orland Park Medical Center and involved alcohol inserted into the spine to destroy select nerves.

Following the procedure, Arient complained of numbness in her legs and was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was there that it was determined that she had been rendered paraplegic. Arient and her husband, Terry Arient, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Hussein and other defendants alleging medical negligence in performing the celiac block. The suit also included a claim for loss of consortium.

Unfortunately, Arient died on June 9, 2014. The lawsuit was amended to include a wrongful-death and survival action against both Dr. Hussein and Illinois Anesthesia and Pain Associates and Orland Park Surgical Center. Orland Park Surgical moved to be dismissed as a defendant; the trial judge agreed.
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Esmeralda Tripp, 42, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib) and was on Coumadin to manage her condition. While on this medicine, she experienced 17 instances of high INR (International Normalized Ratio). INR is a standardized number that is calculated in a laboratory. If a patient takes blood thinners, the INR is particularly important. INR is actually the timing mechanism for clotting. The prothrombin time, along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio and international normalized ratio, are all used in evaluating the pathway of coagulation or blood clotting.

After the report of high INR, doctors prescribed Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma or a discontinuation of the Coumadin.
After again understanding that she had high INR, Tripp went to the University of Arizona Medical Center. A resident physician, Dr. Olga Gokova, and her supervising physician suggested that Tripp take Profilnine, a prothrombotic.

Two hours after receiving an injection of the Profilnine, Tripp suffered a heart attack resulting from a blood clot in her coronary arteries. The blood clot caused her to experience oxygen deprivation, which led to profound brain damage. Today, she remains in a minimally conscious state.
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In the confidential reporting of this case, Mr. Doe, 58, developed shortness of breath. He was admitted to a local hospital where he underwent various tests to rule out pulmonary embolism.

The hospital staff interpreted a pulmonary angiogram suspicious for, but not diagnostic of, an embolism. Mr. Doe was prescribed Coumadin and injectable Lovenox. He was then discharged from the hospital.

The following day, Mr. Doe returned to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CT scan and ultrasound showed a rectus sheath hematoma with internal bleeding. A rectus sheath hematoma is described as an accumulation of blood in the outer lining or sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle. The condition causes abdominal pain with or without a mass. The collection of blood or the hematoma may be caused by either rupture of the epigastric artery or by a muscular tear.
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Peter Sfameni, 55, stopped taking Warfarin before he underwent a colonoscopy and chose not to resume taking the medication after the procedure. He developed lower back pain, fatigue and weight loss, which prompted a trip to Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency room. He was admitted to the hospital, underwent a bone marrow biopsy and was scheduled for a lymph node biopsy. He was discharged with instructions not to take his blood thinners until a week after the upcoming lymph node biopsy.

Sfameni developed severe blood clots in his legs and lungs before the date of the biopsy. Sfameni returned to the hospital where doctors diagnosed gangrene in his right leg, which required an above-the-knee amputation.

Sfameni spent five months in the hospital, followed by four months in rehabilitation. He now uses a prosthesis and experiences constant phantom pain, anxiety and depression.
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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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