Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled res judicata did not bar Gerald Ward from refiling his voluntarily dismissed lawsuit against Decatur Memorial Hospital. Although the decision of the Supreme Court was unanimous, it was split on the rationale. Ward was refiling a medical-malpractice lawsuit against Decatur Memorial Hospital for negligence that allegedly killed his brother, Clarence Ward.

A Macon County judge granted the hospital’s motion to dismiss the first three versions of Ward’s complaint. All of the orders included permission to replead, and none of the dismissals were “with prejudice,” though some claims were dismissed “without prejudice,” while other counts were asked without being labeled as “with” or “without” prejudice. As Ward fine-tuned the complaint, he abandoned some of the claims.

Shortly before trial was scheduled to start, Ward voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit under Section 2-1009 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure and then refiled the case within a year based on code Section 13-217.
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago has affirmed the dismissal of a Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuit sounding in medical malpractice filed by plaintiff Anna Chronis. She claimed that in June 2015, when she visited the University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center for her annual physical examination, the pap smear procedure did not detect cervical cancer. However, the procedure allegedly caused an injury, pain and bruising, she claimed.

After her Pap smear procedure, she claimed she tried to follow up with her physician, Dr. Tamika Alexander, but was unable to reach her. The complaint stated that the Health Center did not return Chronis’s calls or allow her to make a follow-up appointment. Chronis filed a written complaint with the health center’s grievance committee, requesting $332 for the expenses that she incurred because of the pap smear injury. But after reviewing her letter complaint, the Health Center rejected her request.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was dismissed when the district court judge found that Chronis had decided not to exhaust her administrative remedies because she had chosen not to make a sum certain demand to the appropriate federal agency before filing her lawsuit.
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Linda Shelly, 56, suffered from various health problems including hypertension, congestive heart failure and diabetes. When she experienced shortness of breath, she was admitted to a local hospital, where a CT scan revealed a retroperitoneal cyst.

The next day, Dr. Muthiah Thangavelu, a general surgeon, performed surgery to remove the cyst. A subsequent pathology report showed that a portion of Shelly’s ureter was removed during the surgery and was included with the frozen section of the cyst. She was later diagnosed as having a right ureteral injury, a urinoma, and kidney swelling. Urinoma is the result of a breach of the integrity of the pelvis or calices of the kidney or of the ureter. Urinomas are urine collections usually found in the retroperitoneum, most commonly in the perirenal space, as a result of renal tract leakage caused by urinary obstruction, trauma or post-surgery complications.

Despite attempts to save her ureter and kidney over the next two years, she lost a kidney, necessitating dialysis and hastening her death. She was survived by her three adult children.
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St. Luke’s Surgicenter-Lee’s Summit LLC appealed the circuit court’s judgment against St. Luke’s after a jury trial. The gist of the claim was for negligent credentialing. The claim had been brought by the plaintiff, Thomas E. Tharp and Paula M. Tharp, his wife. The jury found in favor of the Tharps and awarded damages. On appeal, the jury verdict was reversed by the Missouri Appellate Court.

“This case arises from a medical malpractice action against a surgeon operating out of St. Luke’s Surgicenter in Lee’s Summit, Mo. In December 2011, Thomas Tharp underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy — a surgical procedure to remove his gallbladder.”

The surgeon who handled the gallbladder removal applied for staff privileges at St. Luke’s in 2005 and renewed his privileges several times thereafter. Among other requirements, St. Luke’s required physicians applying for staff privileges to disclose whether they had ever been sued for professional malpractice and, if so, the number of lawsuits they had defended.
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Dolores Madigan, 71, had a seizure disorder. She took the anticonvulsant medications Keppra and Dilantin daily.

When she was admitted to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, she was suffering from an eye infection. Internal medicine physician Dr. Jayeshkumar Makavana ordered swallow testing to rule out a stroke. Although Dr. Makavana discontinued Madigan’s medication, a neurologist later reinstated the anticonvulsants.

The next night, a nurse alerted Dr. Makavana that Madigan had not been receiving her medicine. The nurse then administered a small inadequate dose of medication in line with Dr. Makavana’s instructions.
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Madaline Pitkin, 26, was booked into the Washington County jail after being arrested for unlawful possession of heroin. For the next week, Pitkin, while alone in her jail cell, suffered from opioid withdrawal resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and limited eating and drinking.

The jail staff came to her cell but did not respond to her four requests for medical care. She was not transferred to a hospital as she requested. Pitkin later died of a cardiac event in her jail cell. She is survived by her parent and sibling.

Pitkin’s estate filed a lawsuit against Corizon Health Inc., the county, and several healthcare staff members, claiming they chose not to diagnose and treat dehydration. The Pitkin family argued that she required transfer to a hospital and intravenous saline treatment in light of her symptoms.
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Ms. Doe, age 67, underwent elective laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair surgery. The procedure was completed by Dr. Roe, a surgeon, along with a nurse’s assistance. During the surgery, Dr. Roe used a tack applier to secure surgical mesh needed to patch an opening in Ms. Doe’s diaphragm.

The next day, Ms. Doe suffered atrial fibrillation and a rapid heartbeat. Ms. Doe coded that night and, despite extensive resuscitative efforts, she died.

Ms. Doe was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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On May 6, 2019, the Illinois Appellate Court overturned a $25,000 settlement between a patient and doctor and revived a potentially far greater contribution claim brought against the doctor by the patient’s employer.

The original lawsuit stems from a Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) case wherein Antwon M. Ross sued the Illinois Central Railroad for damages when he was injured. Ross was a former freight conductor when he sued the Illinois Central Railroad alleging that he injured his head, neck, and back when he fell trying to board a train in January 2013.

Illinois Central then filed its claims against Dr. Sarmed G. Elias for medical malpractice alleging that his treatment was the cause of worsening injuries to Ross.
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Ms. Doe, 47, had a family history of breast cancer. When she discovered a mass in her right breast, she consulted with Dr. Roe, a family practice physician. The doctor aspirated the mass with an 18-gauge needle but did not send the aspiration collection to cytology for analysis.

Cytology is the examination of cells from a patient’s body under a microscope to determine the presence of disease or illness. Instead, Dr. Roe referred Ms. Doe for a mammogram and ultrasound, which reported the presence of a hematoma.

Ms. Doe’s mass continued to grow. Dr. Roe allegedly attributed this to an enlarging hematoma during Ms. Doe’s multiple later visits.
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In August 2013, Alexis Dameron underwent surgery at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center where she claimed to have sustained injuries due to medical negligence. She filed a medical malpractice case against Mercy and various employees at the hospital on Nov. 6, 2014.

During discovery, she disclosed that Dr. David Preston would be testifying as an expert witness, presenting evidence drawn from an electromyogram and EMG study yet to be performed. The EMG was to take place on June 1, 2017, but Dr. Preston’s report was not included in the record.

Dameron moved to designate Dr. Preston a “nontestifying expert consultant,” stating that Dr. Preston’s designation as a testifying expert witness had been “inadvertent.”
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