Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Gail Ingram was 61 years old when she went to a hospital emergency room complaining of abdominal pain. She underwent a CT scan, which was interpreted by radiologist Dr. Barbara Blanco as showing possible pancreatitis, a gallstone and no acute bowel findings.

After a four-day hospital stay, Ingram was instructed to consult her primary care physician and was discharged. Less than two years later, she returned to the emergency room suffering from abdominal pain once again. The CT scan this time revealed a 4-cm lung mass, which led to a lung cancer diagnosis.

Ingram, whose cancer was diagnosed then at Stage IV, died just a month later. She was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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Lilia Torres, 34, began spotting during the eighth week of her pregnancy. She went to a hospital where she had an ultrasound. She later followed up with her treating obstetrician after receiving a diagnosis of placental previa and possible placental accrete, a condition in which the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine wall. For the remaining period of her pregnancy, she saw several obstetricians and midwives at the same medical practice.

At 39 weeks of gestation, two of the obstetricians performed a cesarean section the day after the procedure was scheduled. After the delivery, Torres suffered massive blood loss.

Torres, who lost at least ten liters of blood, suffered cardiogenic and pulmonary shock. Shortly afterward, she died of complications of hemorrhagic shock and multi-organ failure. She was survived by her husband and her four minor children.
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A jury reached a not guilty verdict against defendant Dr. Glenn A. Woudenberg, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, Vanguard Health Systems and MN Anesthesia LLC in the death of a steelworker who underwent a right hip revision surgery and died two days later.

The case was reported in the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter.

The steelworker, E.C., underwent surgery Oct. 9, 2007. He incurred $109,000 in medical bills. His estate contended that the death was caused by episodes of low blood pressure during the surgery, which led to an ischemic injury to the kidney, bowel and other vital organs.
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Angela L. McIntyre, as independent administrator of the estate of Donald R. McIntyre Jr., filed a medical malpractice case alleging that her late husband was negligently treated while he was a patient in the ICU at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.

The jury’s verdict was signed in favor of the McIntyre family and against some of the defendants for $1.1 million for loss of income, goods and services, and $500,000 for loss of companionship and society. The jury entered its verdict in favor of a third-year medical resident and her employer, the hospital, as to institutional negligence.

The appellate court found that the trial court had erred in excluding as hearsay the medical resident’s testimony as to what the on-call hematologist told her about McIntyre’s care, as it was not offered to prove the truth of any factual matter, but instead was to show why the resident and another physician acted as they did.
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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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Jonathan Rabkin, 53, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of the sudden onset of upper abdominal pain radiating to his back. The attending emergency room physician, Dr. Vikram Varma, ordered a chest x-ray and chest CT scan without contrast.

Radiologist Dr. Paul Shieh interpreted the CT scan as showing a 5.2 cm ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm by definition is an excessive localized enlargement of an artery caused by a weakening of the artery wall. In too many patient cases, an aneurysm left unrecognized and untreated can be deadly.

Rabkin was then admitted for observation and five hours later underwent an enhanced CT scan, which showed a type A aortic dissection.
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Johnny Terrell Sledge, 24, suffered a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to the DCH Regional Medical Center emergency room where an emergency room physician recognized the need for surgery.

On-call trauma surgeon Dr. Bradley Bilton was paged repeatedly but responded that he was in surgery and that someone else should be called to assist Sledge. The hospital staff could not locate another surgeon; Dr. Bolton was paged again.

Instead of coming to the emergency room after completing the surgical procedure that he was involved in, Dr. Bilton started a second elective surgery instead of coming to the aid of Sledge.
Unfortunately, Sledge died while waiting for an emergency laparotomy. He is survived by his family.
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Gail Ingram went to a hospital emergency room complaining of abdominal pain. She underwent a CT scan, which was interpreted by a radiologist, Dr. Barbara Blanco, as showing possible pancreatitis, a gallstone, and no acute bowel findings. Ingram was 61 years old at that time.

After a four-day hospitalization, she was instructed to consult her primary care physician. Less than two years later, she returned to the emergency room still suffering from abdominal pain. The CT scan revealed a 4-cm lung mass, which led to a lung cancer diagnosis.

Ingram, whose cancer was diagnosed at Stage IV, died just over a month later. She was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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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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