Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

James DeGeorge, 84, was hospitalized for the placement of a pacemaker. He was labeled a high fall risk due to his unsteady gait and forgetfulness. A nurse gave him Ambien one evening as he reported he could not sleep. He was placed in a chair without an alarm.

An hour later, he was trying to get out of the chair but fell and hit his head. He suffered a subdural hematoma as a result of that blunt force. He died three weeks later and was survived by his wife and three adult children.

DeGeorge’s family and estate filed a lawsuit against the hospital for his wrongful death. The DeGeorge family asserted that the hospital chose not to take the necessary fall precautions and properly monitor his movements.
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David Robinson, who was in his 30s, found blood in his stool. He went to the office of his primary care physician, Dr. William Elder, where he was seen by a physician assistant, David Lamport. Lamport did a cursory physical examination and diagnosed internal hemorrhoids as the origin of blood in Robinson’s stool.

Unfortunately, eight months later, when Robinson’s symptom of blood in his stool persisted, he underwent a colonoscopy, which showed Stage IV colon cancer; it had spread to his liver.

In spite of cancer treatment, Robinson died within a year. He had been working in his family business earning approximately $90,000 per year. He was survived by his wife and three young daughters.
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Ms. Doe, 52, underwent popliteal peroneal artery bypass grafting surgery. She required four additional surgeries after this procedure, including replacement of her inflow and outflow grafts, a fasciotomy to relieve compartment syndrome and resection of necrotic muscle in her lower extremity.

Almost five weeks after the first surgery, Doe suffered a stroke. This led to her death the following day. Doe had been a human resource director earning approximately $100,000 per year. She was survived by her two adult children.

The lawsuit claimed that the outflow target vessel for the first surgery was negligently selected. This led to extremity ischemia, the need for additional surgery, the development of compartment syndrome and failure of the graft.
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Thomas Rogers was 54 years old when he underwent surgery at Optim Medical Center-Tattnall to remove a cervical disk at C-3. Later that night following the surgery, he complained of neck pain and difficulty speaking and swallowing.

Four hours later, a code blue was started. Despite four attempts to intubate, he died. He was survived by his wife.

Rogers’s wife, individually and on behalf of the Rogers’ estate, sued the hospital and Rogers’s attending physician claiming that the doctor and the hospital’s nurses chose not to respond to his postoperative complaints. It was also claimed that there was a failure to control Rogers’s bleeding at the surgical site.
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A 20-year-old new mother identified as Ms. Doe collapsed at her home a week after delivering her baby prematurely. Two paramedics employed by Capital Health System Inc. arrived at her home. A student paramedic was training with the paramedics and was allowed to establish and monitor Ms. Doe’s airway before she was transported to the hospital. At the hospital, it was discovered that Ms. Doe’s endotracheal tube had been placed incorrectly.

Ms. Doe later died and was survived by her father and her infant child.

Ms. Doe’s father sued Capital Health System claiming that it chose not to act in good faith and allowed the student ENT to attempt to intubate Ms. Doe.
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Albert Ragin experienced unexplained weight loss and night sweating. At the time he was in his 80s. CT scans without contrast of his chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed a left kidney cyst, but there were no other kidney abnormalities.

About a year later, in 2013, a renal artery Doppler test showed a possible aortic dissection. Ragin subsequently underwent several CT scans with contrast.

An employee of the defendant in this case, Advanced Radiology, interpreted the CT scans as showing no aortic dissection and no kidney abnormalities except for the several cysts in both kidneys.
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On Oct. 5, 2012, the defendant in this case, Dr. Yasser Alhaj-Hussein, completed a celiac plexus block procedure designed to lessen or alleviate the pain that Kathy Arient was experiencing in her abdominal area. The procedure was done at Orland Park Medical Center and involved alcohol inserted into the spine to destroy select nerves.

Following the procedure, Arient complained of numbness in her legs and was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was there that it was determined that she had been rendered paraplegic. Arient and her husband, Terry Arient, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Hussein and other defendants alleging medical negligence in performing the celiac block. The suit also included a claim for loss of consortium.

Unfortunately, Arient died on June 9, 2014. The lawsuit was amended to include a wrongful-death and survival action against both Dr. Hussein and Illinois Anesthesia and Pain Associates and Orland Park Surgical Center. Orland Park Surgical moved to be dismissed as a defendant; the trial judge agreed.
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A lawsuit arising from the death of Jeannette Turner first resulted in a jury verdict of $22.1 million in this medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit. Sadly, Turner died the night before the jury’s verdict. According to the report of this Illinois Appellate Court case, her death transformed her medical malpractice lawsuit into a survival claim for Joi Jefferson, Turner’s daughter and the special representative of her estate.

As a result, Jefferson was unable to recover compensation that was awarded for any future injuries Turner would have suffered.

“Compensatory tort damages are intended to compensate plaintiffs, not to punish defendants,” Justice Mary Anne Mason wrote in the 23-page opinion. “We would run afoul of this principle if we allowed Jeannette’s estate to collect an award for future injuries Jeannette will no longer suffer. For this reason, we limit plaintiff’s recovery to compensation for injuries Jeannette suffered prior to her death.”
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In October 2016, we reported about this important case on the Illinois law on relation-back and how it applies in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the underlying case of Sheri Lawler, as administrator who sued on behalf of Jill Prusak, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Advocate Christ Hospital and some doctors for medical malpractice in 2011, it was claimed that the doctors and the hospitals misdiagnosed Prusak’s central nervous system lymphoma. She unfortunately died in November 2013 while the case was still pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.

The ultimate question in this Supreme Court case was whether an amended complaint was time-barred under the four-year statute of repose; 735 ILCS 5/13-212. While the case was pending, Lawler’s daughter, Jill Prusak, brought the case on behalf of her mother’s estate and asked the court to add a wrongful-death claim to the lawsuit. The Circuit Court judge rejected the motion and denied the Lawler family to amend the complaint saying it was time-barred under the four-year statute of repose.

However, the Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed that decision under the premise of the “amendments” or relation-back statute; 735 ILCS 5/2-616. The defendants appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
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Philip Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions including obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hyperventilation syndrome and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Hospital in Chicago several times leading up to his last admission in December 2007.

When he returned for an outpatient appointment, it was found that his labs were abnormal. He was admitted to the hospital. At the time of his admission, the pulmonary consulting services described him as suffering from a wide range of medical issues.

Madden was placed in respiratory isolation. A week after being admitted, he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. Madden was intubated and resuscitated, but he never regained consciousness and died later at a long-term care facility.
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