Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

David Scheer, the father of Matthew Scheer, drove his son to the emergency room at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center because David noticed that his son had added some disturbing posts on social media. Matthew was 26 at the time. He was also suffering from auditory and visual hallucinations. Matthew was diagnosed as having suffered a break from reality and was admitted to the hospital when he arrived.

As an inpatient, Matthew was seen by two hospitalists. While at this facility, Matthew became agitated, accused the nurses of being devil worshippers, and told staff that he wished to leave the facility.

The second attending hospitalist did not contact David Scheer, Matthew’s father, about his son’s intentions. He allowed Matthew to leave the hospital against medical advice during an Atlantic coast hurricane. Matthew disappeared and reportedly drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. His death certificate listed his death as a suicide. He is survived by his parents and sibling.
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The parents of a 22-year-old man were awarded $2.68 million by a jury after their son died when a hospitalist at Columbia Medical Center of Arlington, Texas, failed to order a CT scan and surgery to repair a hole in his liver.

The case was reported in the American Association of Justice Professional Negligence Law Reporter.

The patient, M.H., suffered flu symptoms over a two-week period. He was admitted to the Medical Center of Arlington, where he underwent an ultrasound-guided liver biopsy. Several hours later, a treating nurse noted that he was dizzy and sweating profusely.
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In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the judgment against the plaintiffs following a jury verdict in favor of the defendants. The state’s high court held that the circuit court did not commit reversible error when it refused to allow the plaintiffs’ attorney additional voir dire time so he could ask “the insurance question.” The lawyer had forgotten to ask it during his initial voir dire. The court referred to another Missouri case for support of its decision, Ivy v. Hawk, 878 S.W. 2d 442 (Mo. Banc 1994).

The Missouri Supreme Court has held that a party has the right to ask the insurance question during voir dire if the proper procedure is followed to avoid unduly highlighting the question. The Missouri Supreme Court noted, however, that Ivy did not divest the circuit court of its discretion to control the proper form and timing of voir dire questioning, including discretion as to whether counsel’s proposed procedure would unduly highlight the question.

The court then affirmed, holding that because plaintiff’s counsel forgot to ask the insurance question during multiple hours of voir dire, the court acted within its discretion. The lower court’s finding is that it would unduly highlight the question to allow counsel to recommence his questioning to ask the insurance question after voir dire had otherwise concluded.
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Dennis Davis, an Illinois prisoner suffering from kidney disease, received dialysis on a Saturday. He later told the prison nurse that his mind was fuzzy and his body was weak. Both of these complaints were similar to other side effects he had experienced in the past after dialysis treatment. The nurse called Dr. Francis Kayira, the prison’s medical director, who asked her whether Davis had asymmetrical grip strength, facial droop, or drooling. These are classic signs of a stroke.

When the nurse said “no,” Dr. Kayira determined that Davis was experiencing the same dialysis-related side effects as before rather than something more serious.

Dr. Kayira told the nurse to monitor Davis and call him if the symptoms worsened. Dr. Kayira did not hear anything for the rest of the weekend. On the following Monday morning, Dr. Kayira examined Davis and discovered that Davis in fact had suffered a stroke.
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Rodney Knoepfle, 67, suffered from significant health problems. He had a history of stroke and orthopedic and cardiac problems. Before all this took place, he executed an advance directive, which designated his wife to make healthcare decisions and stated his desire to forego life-sustaining healthcare treatment should that become necessary. In other words, he signed this directive stating that he did not wish to be resuscitated in case of a deteriorating medical condition.

When Knoepfle began feeling poorly, he was admitted to St. Peter’s Hospital. He provided his advanced directive to the nurses and staff who entered a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order into the hospital computer system.

However, two days later, Knoepfle became non-responsive, prompting a nurse to call for help. When no one responded to the call, the nurse called a code. The on-duty hospitalist, Dr. Lee Harrison, came to Knoepfle’s bedside and performed chest compressions for 10 to 15 minutes. Knoepfle was resuscitated; however, he then coded the following day. Dr. Harrison then gave Knoepfle adrenaline.
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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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