$30 Million Jury Verdict for Punitive Damages in Medical Center’s Negligence and Failure to Provide Life-Saving Surgery

Johnny Terrell Sledge, 24, suffered a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to the DCH Regional Medical Center emergency room where an emergency room physician recognized the need for surgery.

On-call trauma surgeon Dr. Bradley Bilton was paged repeatedly but responded that he was in surgery and that someone else should be called to assist Sledge. The hospital staff could not locate another surgeon; Dr. Bolton was paged again.

Instead of coming to the emergency room after completing the surgical procedure that he was involved in, Dr. Bilton started a second elective surgery instead of coming to the aid of Sledge.
Unfortunately, Sledge died while waiting for an emergency laparotomy. He is survived by his family.

The Sledge estate filed a lawsuit against the hospital, its director of trauma services, Dr. Bilton and his practice group, and DCH’s chief medical officer, alleging that they chose not to timely provide Mr. Sledge’s emergency surgery.

The Sledge family alleged that the hospital’s policies and procedures allowed its on-call trauma surgeon to schedule elective surgical procedures on on-call days, making this doctor unavailable. In addition, the Sledge estate alleged that the hospital decided not to follow its policy requiring it to locate another surgeon when Dr. Bilton became unavailable. The Sledge estate did not claim lost income.

The jury signed a verdict for $30 million in punitive damages. Incidentally, Illinois by law does not permit medical malpractice lawsuits where punitive damages could be considered in a verdict. Although punitive damages may be allowed in certain circumstances in accordance with Illinois law, punitive damages are prohibited in medical and legal malpractice cases. 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case for the Sledge family were Derrick Mills, David Marsh and Jane Mauzy.

Taylor v. DCH Health Care Authority, No. 63-CV-2014-900872-00 (Ala. Cir. Ct. Tuscaloosa County, May 16, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death lawsuits, hospital negligence lawsuits, surgery negligence cases and birth trauma injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones 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 Riverside, Cicero, Oak Lawn, Bridgeview, Burbank, Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, South Holland, Lyons, Stickney, River Forest, Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Chicago (Little Village, South Side, South Shore, Roseland, East Side, Hegewisch, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, Edgewater, Lakeview, Hermosa, Portage Park, Irving Park, Jefferson Park, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Brighton Park, Archer Heights, Garfield Ridge, West Lawn, Ashburn, Greater Grand Crossing, Chatham, Avalon Park, Washington Heights, Roseland, Pullman, Mount Greenwood, Calumet Heights, South Shore), Hickory Hills, Alsip, Calumet Park, Dolton, Burnham, South Holland, Hazel Crest, Country Club Hills, Tinley Park, Homer Glen, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Wheaton, Aurora, Elgin and Glendale Heights, Ill.

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