$28.9 Million Jury Verdict in the Late Diagnosis of Wilson’s Disease

Emilee Williams, a 21-year-old student, consulted an internist at Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities when she experienced tremors, balance and concentration problems, insomnia and panic attacks. She was diagnosed as having fatigue and depression and was prescribed medication.

Almost five months later, she returned to the clinic in a deteriorated condition and was re-diagnosed with simple anxiety.
The next month, when her symptoms worsened, Williams underwent an MRI that showed severe brain damage resulting from Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic inherited disorder in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body, particularly in the liver, brain and eyes. Despite treatment, she still suffers from the effects of her brain injury, which affects her speaking and ability to walk among other deficits.

Williams sued Mercy Clinic Springfield alleging vicarious liability for the physician’s choosing not to timely diagnose Wilson’s disease and including her neurological condition on her differential diagnosis.

The lawsuit claimed that the doctor should have ordered an MRI and then referred her to a neurologist after the first visit, which would have led to an early diagnosis and the opportunity for effective treatment.

The jury signed a verdict in favor of Williams for more than $28.9 million.

The attorneys who successfully handled this case for Williams were Grant Rahmeyer and Steven B. Garner.

At trial, Williams’s attorneys presented experts in family medicine, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning, neuropsychology and neurology.

The defendant Mercy Clinic presented experts at trial specializing in neurology and family medicine.

The symptoms of Wilson’s disease, although rare, include swelling, fatigue, abdominal pain and uncontrollable poorly coordinated movements. Treatment often includes medications that can prompt the organs to release copper in the blood stream. Once the excessive copper is circulated into the blood stream, it can be eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Unfortunately, the treatment in this case wasn’t completed because the diagnosis was made so late.

Williams v. Mercy Clinic Springfield, No. 1531-CC00861-01 (Mo. Cir. Ct., Green County, Missouri, March 3, 2017).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury lawsuits, medical malpractice cases, misdiagnosis lawsuits, hospital negligence lawsuits, brain injury cases and birth trauma 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 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Gurnee, Grayslake, Crystal Lake, Norridge, Des Plaines, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lemont, Lisle, Geneva, St. Charles, Aurora, Evergreen Park, Chicago (DePaul University Area, East Garfield Park, Edison Park, Chinatown, Near North Side, West Town, Wrigleyville, Belmont Central, Belmont Gardens, Buena Park, Diversey Harbor, Archer Heights, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Roscoe Village, Lakeview, Gold Coast, Old Town, Goose Island), Itasca, Oakbrook Terrace, Clarendon Hills and Crestwood, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has an active member of both the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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