$29 Million Jury Verdict for Misdiagnosed Neurological Disorder that Caused Catastrophic Brain Damage and Paralysis

A  Springfield, Mo., jury signed a verdict for $28.9 million for a 24-year-old woman who sustained a devastating brain injury caused by a rare copper disorder. The lawsuit, brought in Greene County, Mo., claimed that a local hospital’s medical staff chose not to correctly diagnose and treat Emilee Williams’ symptoms. In fact, it was alleged that the hospital took the position that it did not need to do a full and complete neurological exam even though Williams presented to the hospital with symptoms. The hospital dismissed her symptoms as anxiety.

It was in December 2012 that Williams presented to the hospital. She was examined by Dr. Elene Pilapil with complaints of fatigue, tremors, balance issues, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, crying spells and anxiety. Dr. Pilapil diagnosed Williams with anxiety and did not consider ordering more diagnostic testing. A prescription for Prozac was written and Williams was sent home. Eight months later, not until August 2013, was an MRI finally ordered that showed that Williams was brain damaged, caused by the previously undiagnosed Wilson’s disease. This was done only after Emilee and her mother continued to complain to the doctor that Emilee had something much more significant happening to her than just anxiety.

As it was proved at trial, Williams had undiagnosed Wilson’s disease. This disease, although rare, causes too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs, which was the cause of her devastating permanent injuries. Williams was a former high school student and athlete, but today is limited from paralysis, motor and speech impairment and must be fed through a tube in her stomach.

“We hope this verdict reminds hospitals to give doctors the time to listen to their patients, listen to their families and to raise awareness for Wilson’s disease so that no one will ever have to go through what Emilee went through,” plaintiff’s attorney Grant Rahmeyer of Strong-Garner-Bauer PC was quoted as saying.

The Greene County jury verdict was made up of the following specific damages:

$21 million for future medical damages;
$3.2 million for future economic damages excluding future medical damages;
$3.2 million for future non-economic damages;
$1 million for past non-economic damages; and
$511,000 for past economic damages, including past medical damages.

Emilee Williams v. Mercy Springfield Hospital and Elene Pilapil, MD (Greene County, Mo.)

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis of medical conditions, medical malpractice cases, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injury cases, birth trauma and injury lawsuits and hospital negligence cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as the result of the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including Barrington, Evanston, Elmhurst, Franklin Park, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Worth, Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Park Ridge, Olympia Fields and Palos Heights, Ill.

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

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