$1 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Patient in Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Margaret Brown, a 71-year-old retiree, was admitted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Ill., in October 2002 to undergo a coronary artery bypass surgery. During the initial stages of the bypass surgery, Brown suffered a pulmonary artery injury. It was claimed in the lawsuit that the artery injury was caused by the insertion of a Swan-Ganz catheterization.

The Swan-Ganz catheter is commonly used by passing a thin tube, which is the catheter, into the right side of the heart and the arteries leading to the lungs to monitor the heart’s blood flow or output during the surgery. The Swan-Ganz catherization is also used to inform doctors and surgeons of an abnormal blood flow. Its use is standard operating procedure for monitoring patient heart and blow flood output in invasive heart surgeries.

In this lawsuit, the family of Margaret Brown maintained that the use of the Swan-Ganz catheter was the cause of her death on Oct. 28, 2002. The family alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Gillen, was responsible. Their claim was medical battery in that the doctor chose not to obtain consent for the use of the Swan-Ganz catheter by the patient before the beginning of the surgery. Medical battery is a legal cause of action where the medical provider is claimed to have treated the patient without the patient’s consent.

The defendants, who  included Dr. Gillen’s practice group, denied that any medical battery occurred and denied proximate cause of the death of Brown. St. Elizabeth’s Hospital settled out before the beginning of the trial. The jury’s verdict of $1 million is being appealed by both defendants who were held responsible by the jury.

The attorney representing the family of Margaret Brown was Joseph A. Bartholomew.

Estate of Margaret Brown, deceased v. Dr. Daniel P. Gillen and St. Clair Anesthesia, Ltd., No. 03 L 261 (St. Clair County, Illinois).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling hospital negligence cases, medical malpractice cases and birth injury lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Burbank, Burr Ridge, Calumet City, Country Club Hills, Deerfield, Crete, Elk Grove Village, Elgin, Evergreen Park, Park Forest, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Orland Hills, Westchester, Worth, Chicago (Pulaski Park, Printer’s Row, Pilsen, Edgewater, Pill Hill, Chinatown, Loyola Park, Little Italy, Lincoln Park), Mundelein, Morton Grove and Joliet, Ill.

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