$300,000 Settlement for Wrongful Death of Patient Who Died from the Failure to Monitor Respiratory Status

Michelle Phibbs, 29, had a history of mental illness. She was admitted to Heartland Behavioral Healthcare, a state-run psychiatric hospital, for an inpatient stay after experiencing difficulty following the death of a close family friend.

A psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and alcohol abuse, among other problems, and prescribed Ativan, Geodon and Thorazine.

One morning, after Phibbs was released from restraints, a nurse noted that she had forced breathing and was gasping. In the next hour, the facility’s staff checked on Phibbs three times until a nurse found her unresponsive.

Phibbs was then transferred to a local hospital where she died. She is survived by her mother and minor daughter.

Phibbs’s mother, on behalf of her estate, sued the State of Ohio alleging that its nurses chose not to adequately monitor Phibbs and call the attending physician regarding her breathing problems. The Phibbs family argued that Michelle Phibbs, who was overweight and suffered from sleep apnea, was administered medication without adequate monitoring of her respiratory status.

The defendant denied the allegations. Before trial, the parties settled for $300,000.

The attorney handling this tragic case was Edward Czopur.

The Phibbs’s experts engaged for this case worked in the fields of pulmonology, psychiatry and nursing.

Timlin v. Heartland Behavioral Healthcare, No. 2015-005666 (Ohio Ct. of Cl.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death cases, medical malpractice lawsuits, nursing home negligence lawsuits, birth trauma brain injury lawsuits, labor and delivery negligence lawsuits, emergency room negligence lawsuits and physician negligence 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 Mettawa, Half Day, Lincolnshire, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Long Grove, Wheeling, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Evanston, Rosemont, Elmwood Park, Cicero, Villa Park, Lombard, LaGrange, Chicago (Little Village, Brighton Park, Fuller Park, Bronzeville, Near South Side, West Garfield Park, Mont Clare, Irving Park, Bucktown, Lakeview, River North, West Town, Jefferson Park, West Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Ravenswood Manor, Albany Park, Sauganash, Norwood Park, Old Irving Park), Des Plaines, Morton Grove, Arlington Heights, Vernon Hills, Lake Bluff, Zion, North Chicago, Winthrop Harbor, Gurnee, Homewood, Flossmoor, Western Springs, Willow Springs, Hickory Hills, Justice, Palos Heights, Orland Hills, Tinley Park, Frankfort Square, Richton Park, Park Forest, University Park, Monee, Mokena and Palos Heights, Ill.

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

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