In this medical malpractice jury case, a Cook County Circuit Court judge rejected a request by the plaintiff, Jill Bailey. She had requested a non-pattern jury instruction on “loss-of-chance.” The judge’s decision resulted in a reversal of a defense verdict. Bailey alleged that Jill Milton-Hampton died because of a delay in diagnosing her suffering from sepsis or toxic shock syndrome when she twice went to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.
The judge relied on the case of Cetera v. DiFilippo, 404 Ill.App.3d 20 (2020) for the decision to refuse the instruction. The judge was justified in concluding that the long-form version of the pattern jury instruction on proximate causation, Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (Civil) No. 15.01, adequately explains the loss-of-chance doctrine.
The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a judgment for the four emergency room physicians and their employer, Emergency Medicine Physicians of Chicago (EMP). They disagreed with Cetera stating that IPI 15.01 “does not distinctly inform the jury about loss-of-chance, i.e., that the jury may consider, as a proximate cause of a patient’s injury, that a defendant’s negligence lessened the effectiveness of the treatment or increased the risk of an unfavorable outcome to a plaintiff.