A Lake County jury entered a verdict in favor of a woman who was sustained a head injury after falling from a surgical table. While the original medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against both the hospital where the fall occurred and the anesthesiologist who administered an epidural prior to the fall, the $790,860 verdict was only entered against the defendant hospital.
The 59 year-old plaintiff presented to Victory Memorial Hospital, now known as Vista Medical Center East, for treatment of a lower back injury. The plaintiff had injured herself after falling in a parking lot, sustaining not only the back injury, but a mild concussion as well. To help improve her pain, the plaintiff was given an epidural by Dr. Eliza Diaconescu, a pain management specialist.
According to testimony provided at the Lake County medical malpractice trial, the plaintiff remained semi-conscious after Dr. Diaconescu gave her an epidural. Dr. Diaconescu then walked away from the surgical table in order to dictate her treatment into the operative notes. An operating room nurse stayed with the plaintiff while she awaited her transfer to the recovery room. It was at this time that the plaintiff fell off the operating table, cutting her head and sustaining yet another concussion. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Dr. Diaconescu and Victory Memorial Hospital for their negligence in causing her injury.
In her medical malpractice complaint, the plaintiff alleged that her fall from the operating table aggravated her prior concussion. At the time of the epidural, the plaintiff was still suffering from headaches due to her initial concussion. Then the blow to her head caused by fall from the operating table resulted in post-concussion syndrome, which consisted of dizziness, permanent headaches, cognitive impairment, neck pain, and memory loss.
The plaintiff contended that the medical negligence of the hospital and Dr. Diaconescu consisted of a failure to prevent her fall by not choosing to properly safeguard and monitor while she was in the operating room while under sedation. In response, the defendants maintained that they had followed the acceptable standard of care for what is required in a similar situation. The hospital contended that its operating room nurse had secured the plaintiff to the surgical bed with a safety strap and was monitoring her as required. Dr. Diaconescu argued that it was no longer her duty to monitor the plaintiff after the epidural was done.
Likewise, both the hospital and Dr. Diaconescu contested the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. At the Lake County trial, they submitted the testimony of a neuropsychologist who stated that the plaintiff could not have suffered permanent brain damage from her fall as she claimed. The medical expert also contested her claims of post-concussion syndrome, opining that those symptoms should have cleared up within a few months of the fall.
And while the Lake County jury did find in favor of the defendant physician, Dr. Diaconescu, it held that Victory Memorial Hospital and its nursing staff were negligent in their treatment of the plaintiff. It awarded a $790,860 verdict composed of the following damages:
- $80,860 for medical expenses;
- $210,000 for lost income;
- $250,000 for pain and suffering; and
- $250,000 for loss of normal life.
This verdict was fairly close to the last reported demand to settle made by plaintiff’s counsel, Margaret Morrison Borcia and Donald J. Morrison, which was $1 million. Whereas the last offer made by the defendants was only $75,000 in Antoinette Pinto v. Victory Memorial Hospital, et al., 08 L 418 (Lake County).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice cases for individuals and families for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County ,and surrounding areas, including Naperville, Niles, Oak Park, Oak Forest, and Park Forest.
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