$595,000 Cook County Jury Verdict in Medical Malpractice Foot Amputation Case

Jungie Kim underwent surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm at Rush Northshore Medical Center on Sept. 24, 2003.  Kim was a 55-year-old housewife.  The surgery was done by a vascular surgeon, Dr. Douglas Norman, a contracted employee at Rush Northshore. 

Following the surgery, Ms. Kim experienced severe ischemia in her right foot. Several more surgical procedures were performed.  There was the development of compartment syndrome pressure in a muscle compartment, which can cause muscle and nerve damages because of decreased blood flow.

In spite of the right foot surgeries, Ms. Kim’s foot became gangrenous, which eventually led to an amputation of the forefoot in April 2004.

Ms. Kim sought damages for her disability, disfigurement and pain and suffering. A lawsuit was filed against Dr. Norman and Rush Northshore.  Her husband made a claim for loss of consortium and loss of services because his wife, Ms. Kim, could no longer do household chores. 

The plaintiffs argued that Dr. Norman improperly sequenced the clamping of the major blood vessels during the surgery. It was alleged that in surgery, Dr. Norman choose to clamp the aorta first as was indicated in his operative report.  The iliac arteries were supposed to be clamped before the aorta to prevent plaque and thrombotic/clot material from flowing into the foot.  All of the parties in the case agreed that it would be a deviation from the accepted standard of care to clamp the aorta first. 

The defendants contended that Dr. Norman’s operative report did not intend to suggest a sequence of clamping in that the order in which he dictated the clamping was just a summary and not the order in which the clamping was done.  Dr. Norman said that the surgery he did and was trained to do, was done in the correct order and properly.  Defendants also maintained that plaintiff had an unhealthy vascular system due to her underlying diabetes, hardening of the arteries and history of smoking. Defendants argued that the foot ischemia could not have been prevented because of the severity of the hardening of the arteries.

The jury deliberated six and a half hours before reaching its $595,000 verdict made up of the following damages:

The verdict was against both defendants.

  • $0 to Jungie Kim;
  • $0 for disfigurement;
  • $0 for pain and suffering;
  • $0 for disability;
  • $0 for medical expenses;
  • $595,000 to Song Tai Kim (husband of Jungie Kim) for loss of consortium and services.

The attorney for the Kim family was Sal Indomenico.

Post-trial motions are pending before the trial court. 

At the trial, the counsel for the Kim family asked for a verdict between $2.5 and $3.5 million, but there was no offer made by the defendants. 

Kim v. Douglas Norman, M.D., Rush Northshore Medical Center, 09 L 7810 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handing medical negligence cases, including surgical errors, misdiagnosis and birth injury cases 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 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Lincolnwood, Chicago (Edgebrook), Norridge, Harwood Heights, Melrose Park, Chicago (Ashburn), Bedford Park, Chicago (Marquette Park), Chicago (Little Village), Chicago (Little Italy), Chicago (Pill Hill), Palos Park, Burr Ridge, Willowbrook, Oakbrook Terrace and Merionette Park, Ill.

Related blog posts:

$20 Million Paid by Cook County to Family of Boy Who Suffered Brain Damage; Payment will Ensure Lifelong Care

Illinois Jury Verdict for Doctors in Bowel Perforation, Sepsis, Death Case