Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Kelly Wolfe was 56 years old when he was involved in a motorcycle crash. Paramedics from the city of Grand Prairie arrived at the crash location where they found him alert and breathing regularly. The paramedics attempted unsuccessfully to intubate Wolfe. The paramedics undertook the intubation even though Wolfe told the paramedics that he wanted to go home.

A helicopter service operated by PHI Air Medical Inc. came to the scene to transport Wolfe to a nearby hospital. Before the helicopter transport, the paramedics provided the PHI Air personnel with a paralyzing agent to facilitate Wolfe’s intubation.For some reason, the paramedics were determined that intubation was the thing to do.

Twenty minutes later, when Wolfe arrived at the hospital, he was deemed brain dead due to prolonged oxygen deprivation. Wolfe subsequently died. He had been working as a paramedic instructor, earning about $50,000 per year. He is survived by his three children, one of whom was a minor.

Continue reading

Helen Manfredi, 85, underwent right colectomy surgery at Loyola University Hospital because of her colon cancer. She also had a large pre-existing hiatal hernia that was asymptomatic.

During the colectomy surgery, the surgeon decided to reduce the stomach organ, but the hernia was not repaired.

Four days after the colectomy surgery, April 29, 2011, Manfredi suddenly became unresponsive and required emergency surgery, which showed the stomach had become incarcerated with ischemia of portions of the stomach lining.
Continue reading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago has overturned a summary judgment order that was entered by a U.S. District Court judge over whether an insurance company, Sun Life & Health Insurance Co. (U.S.), should pay death benefits to the husband of the plaintiff when he died after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

Sun Life had moved for summary judgment claiming it was not responsible for paying the $92,000 death benefit to Lee Ann Prather, the wife of the decedent, Jeremy Prather. Prather injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. About two weeks after his surgery to repair the tendon, he died at age 31. A blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) developed in his injured leg and had broken loose and traveled to his lung. The clot or pulmonary embolism caused cardiac arrest and his subsequent death.

Sun Life declined to pay the $92,000 benefit on the ground that Prather’s injury on the basketball court was not the sole cause of his death. Instead, Sun Life argued that the surgery that Prather underwent following the injury was a contributing factor to his death.
Continue reading

This case arises out of an appeal taken after the Circuit Court of Cook County judge entered judgment on the verdict in favor of Dr. John Pantano and Suburban Lung Associates, S.C. in a medical malpractice action. The lawsuit, brought by the special administrator of the Estate of Viola Morrisroe, claimed that her death occurred after a bronchoscopy during which biopsies were performed by Dr. Pantano. It was asserted that the trial judge was in error for (1) barring Morrisroe’s expert from utilizing two CT scans during his testimony to demonstrate that the size of a mass in her lung had not increased in size; and (2) sustaining defense counsel’s objections to certain statements in plaintiff’s counsel’s closing argument relating to informed consent claim.

In 1999, Morrisroe was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema by pulmonologist Dr. Edward Diamond who was the president of Suburban Lung Associates, S.C. Her medical condition was monitored by Dr. Diamond and, in 2006, she began obtaining routine CT scans. In February 2009, a CT scan of her lungs indicated a new mass had formed in the upper right lobe. Dr. Diamond ordered further testing in the form of a PET scan. The PET scan indicated that, while unlikely, cancer could not be ruled out. Dr. Diamond discussed the results of the scans with her and recommended that another CT scan be performed in four months.

By 2009, Dr. Diamond’s examinations found that Morrisroe’s lung function had significantly decreased. While her lung function was at 40% in the beginning of the year, by the summer her lung function was only 26%, prompting Dr. Diamond to downgrade her COPD from “severe” to “very severe.”
Continue reading

The appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court arose from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, which granted the motion of the defendants, Dr. Clarissa Rhode and Central Illinois Radiological Associates Ltd. The plaintiff — Randall Moon — filed a complaint under the Illinois Wrongful Act (740 ILCS 180/1, et seq.) and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6). The complaint was dismissed as time-barred. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal and held that the two-year statute of limitations for filing the complaint began to run at the time of the decedent’s death and not after the plaintiff discovered defendants’ alleged medical negligence.

On May 18, 2009, Randall Moon’s mother, 90-year-old Kathryn Moon, was admitted to Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Ill., for rectal prolapse. On May 20, 2009, she underwent a perineal proctectomy. During her hospitalization, she experienced numerous complications including labored breathing, pain, fluid overload, pulmonary infiltrates, pneumoperitoneum, sepsis and an elevated white blood cell count.

On May 23, a CT scan of her chest and abdominal area was ordered. Dr. Rhode, a radiologist, read the CT scans on May 24, 2009. Randall W. Moon, who is Kathryn Moon’s son and the plaintiff in this case, returned from out-of-state to his mother’s bedside on the evening of May 27, 2009. Her oxygen levels had significantly dropped and she was not awake or responsive. Two days later she died in the hospital.
Continue reading

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to accept for consideration a case appealed from the Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District stating that this is a case of first impression. The case of Sheri Lawler v. The University of Chicago Medical Center was decided early this year, reversing a Cook County judge’s decision that disallowed an amendment to the medical malpractice lawsuit for wrongful death.

In the appellate court decision, the court held that the plaintiff’s estate was allowed to add new wrongful-death claims even after the statute of repose had expired.

The original lawsuit was brought by Jill Prusak who sued The University of Chicago Medical Center and Advocate Christ Hospital and a doctor and some others for medical malpractice in August 2011. It was claimed that the doctors and hospitals misdiagnosed her central nervous system lymphoma, a tumor affecting the brain or spinal cord as a macular pathology, which is a condition in a patient’s retinas.
Continue reading

Betty Spotts fell and fractured her pelvis at her home on Feb. 10, 2011. The fracture required surgery at Ingalls Memorial Hospital. She was transferred to the defendant Providence Health Care in South Holland, Ill., on Feb. 14, 2011. Providence Health Care was supposed to provide a course of rehabilitation, including physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Just days after her admission to Providence Health Care, she began exhibiting symptoms of low oxygen levels (hypoxia) including shortness of breath, allegedly indicative of pulmonary emboli. Spotts was 81 years old.

Her symptoms got worse on Feb. 21, 2011, at which time a pulmonary embolism was diagnosed. She was readmitted to Ingalls Memorial Hospital where treatment was ultimately unsuccessful. She died on Feb. 22, 2011 survived by two adult children.
Continue reading

On Aug. 4, 2011, Jill Prusak filed a medical malpractice case within both the two-year statute of limitation and four-year statute of repose under Section 13-212(a). The lawsuit contained a two-count complaint against the defendants, University of Chicago Medical Center and other medical providers who have since been dismissed from the case. It was alleged that Dr. Rama Jager misdiagnosed Prusak’s macular pathology and that this misdiagnosis led to the defendants’ choosing to not recognize nervous system lymphoma.

The first count alleged negligence against the University of Chicago defendants and asserted that Dr. Jager was an agent or apparent agent of the University of Chicago defendants.  The second count of the complaint made the same allegations with respect to Advocate defendants and the Christ Hospital defendants.

Prusak died on Nov. 24, 2013 after the expiration of the four-year statute of repose. On March 11, 2014, the trial court granted Prusak’s daughter, Sheri Lawler, leave to file an amended complaint, substituting herself as party plaintiff and as the executor of Prusak’s estate.

Continue reading

Benjamin Serico was 58 years old when he underwent a colonoscopy done by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Robert Rothberg. Dr. Rothberg informed Serico that the test did not reveal any signs of colon cancer.

Two years later, Serico was diagnosed with having metastatic colon cancer; despite a treatment plan, Serico later died of the cancer. He had been an assistant professor and was survived by his wife and two sons.

The Serico family sued Dr. Rothberg, claiming that his choosing not to remove a polyp during the colonoscopy procedure and then failing to properly perform the test, led to the late diagnosis of cancer. The jury’s verdict was $6 million in favor of the estate of Serico and his wife for the wrongful death and medical malpractice.

Continue reading

Gary, 44, suffered from chronic neck pain. He underwent a cervical injection procedure at a surgical center and was treated by an anesthesiologist. After Gary was placed lying faced down during this procedure, the surgical staff discovered that Gary was not breathing. He was resuscitated and hospitalized. However, Gary died six months later due to complications from hypoxia or a deprivation of oxygen, which undoubtedly occurred while he was undergoing the cervical injection and was not breathing.

Gary had been a railroad worker earning about $90,000 a year and was survived by his wife and two minor children.

Gary’s family filed a lawsuit against the anesthesiologist alleging that the doctor chose not to monitor Gary during the cervical injection procedure and failed to timely respond to the fact that Gary’s vital signs showed signs of hypoxia. It was also maintained that the doctor chose not to intervene before Gary suffered the hypoxic event.

Continue reading