In this Cook County, Ill., medical malpractice and wrongful death case, the hospital, Sisters of Saint Francis Health Services Inc. and Dr. Perry Marshall D.O. have appealed the jury’s verdict in favor of the family of the decedent, Georgia Tagalos.
On July 9, 2006, the plaintiff, Ted Fragogiannis accompanied by his mother, Georgia Tagalos, went to visit a friend in Bourbonnais, Ill. She was a long-time sufferer of asthma. During the ride home, Fragogiannis noticed that his mother began wheezing and gasping for air. She used two different inhalers, but her condition did not improve. She went into respiratory distress. Fragogiannis called 911 and arranged for an ambulance to meet them on the highway and take his mother to the hospital. According to the paramedics’ protocol, Tagalos was taken to St. Francis Hospital, which was the nearest hospital.
Tagalos arrived at the hospital at 1:45 p.m. and at that point she could no longer speak, but she was still responsive. Dr. Marshall was the emergency room’s attending physician. He was summoned by the nurse to address what had become a respiratory emergency. Dr. Marshall was at Tagalos’s bedside within minutes, but the parties disagreed about how many minutes elapsed. Dr. Marshall instructed a fourth year emergency room resident physician to see Ms. Tagalos and indicated that she might need to be intubated. The fourth year emergency resident, Dr. Julie Mills, assessed the patient and determined that an emergency intubation was required. At 1:56 p.m., 11 minutes after arriving at the hospital and while Dr. Mills was preparing for intubation, Tagalos became unresponsive.