3.1 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Patient Following Heart Procedure; Estate of Teague v. Holy Cross Hospital

Lillie Teague, 74, underwent an angiogram, which is an x-ray exam that uses a dye and camera to look at the blood flow in an artery or vein. Many angiograms are used to examine the arteries near the heart, lungs, brain and the aorta. The procedure requires the use of a thin tube called a catheter placed into a blood vessel in the femoral artery at the groin. The purpose for the angiogram is to find a bulge in a blood vessel or the narrowing or blockage in a blood vessel.

In this case, Ms. Teague began bleeding from the place where the catheter was inserted; at the entry site of the femoral artery. Bleeding at the femoral artery is a known complication for an angiogram, which was done here.

The defendant nurse was alleged to have chosen not to properly and appropriately respond to the need to control the bleeding for up to 30 minutes. This caused massive blood loss. It was alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint that because of the loss of blood, Ms. Teague consequently suffered a stroke.

The stroke occurred several hours after the beginning of the bleeding and left Ms. Teague paralyzed and brain damaged. She died on Sept. 18, 2007, about 5 months after the original angiogram procedure.

The defendants argued at trial that the blood loss was minimal and that Ms. Teague’s stroke was due to the patient’s other co-morbid conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, which is a not uncommon irregular heartbeat.

The jury’s finding for the family of Ms. Teague of $3,118,784 was made up of the following items of damage:

Survival count:

• $1,250,000 for pain and suffering;
• $250,000 for disability; and
• $618,784 for medical expenses.

Wrongful death:

• $1,000,000.
The survival count is the verdict portion for the estate of Ms. Teague. Ms. Teague had survived after the alleged negligently handled angiogram for five months. That was for her pain and suffering, disability and medical expenses.

The wrongful death count of $1 million was for the loss of a loved one brought on behalf of the decedent’s family or next-of-kin. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action in the name(s) of the personal representative for the benefit of the next-of-kin of the deceased. There is a presumption in the law that the death of an adult with surviving next-of-kin caused by negligence of another, will be reasonably and fairly compensated for the “pecuniary loss” which may include loss of money, benefits, goods, services and society. Grief, sorrow and mental suffering can be considered by a jury.

The attorneys for the estate of Lillie Teague were Robert B. Patterson and John F. Hedrich. Before trial, the demand to settle was $2,750,000. According to the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, the plaintiff’s attorneys asked the jury for $5,300,000 to $8,800,000. There was no offer made to settle by the defendants.

Estate of Lillie Teague v. Holy Cross Hospital, et al.; 09 L 4045 (Cook County)
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, wrongful death claims, nursing home abuse cases and other cases for the severely injured for more than 36 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Lincolnwood, Chicago (Humboldt Park), Chicago (Logan Square), River Grove, Cicero, Chicago (Little Village), Bedford Park, Merrionette Park, Blue Island, Chicago (Riverdale), Calumet City, Chicago Ridge, LaGrange, Western Springs, Park Forest, and Chicago (Edgebrook), Ill.

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