Chicago Surgical Error Leads to Overwhelming Sepsis and Quadriplegia – $5.1 Million Verdict Entered in Tate v. The Surgical Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC

An Illinois jury entered an Illinois medical malpractice verdict of $5.1 million against an Illinois surgeon and surgical center who failed to diagnose a perforated bowel sustained during pelvic surgery. The plaintiff in Gwendolyn Tate v. Dr. Harrith M. Hasson and The Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue LLC, 10 L-2437. developed a severe case of sepsis and was left a quadriplegic.

Ms. Tate had been treating with the defendant, Dr. Hasson, for chronic pelvic pain and uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Dr. Hasson, a practicing obstetrician, endocrinologist, and surgeon, recommended that the plaintiff undergo a surgery to treat her pain and symptoms.

In 2002, Ms. Tate underwent the recommended surgery at Surgery Center at 900 N. Michigan Avenue, LLC.. During the procedure, Dr. Hasson accidently perforated the plaintiff’s bowel. While the perforated bowel might not have been medical malpractice on its own, the failure to recognize that the organ had been perforated was an example of surgical negligence. Patients should be monitored for signs of bleeding and infection following any type of surgery; a failure to do so is below the standard of care.

In her Illinois surgical malpractice lawsuit, Ms. Tate alleged that neither the surgeon or the surgical center advised her of the signs and symptoms of sepsis upon her discharge. Specifically, Ms. Tate was not instructed on the proper way to care for her wounds, or with instructions on what potentially dangerous signs and symptoms she should watch for. As a result of this failure to provide appropriate discharge instructions, Ms. Tate missed the signs and symptoms of infection, which led to her widespread sepsis.

After being released from the surgical center, Ms. Tate developed a foul-smelling discharge from her incisions, which is a red flag that the wound is infected. In addition, she developed a fever, chills, and abdominal pain, all of which can also be signs of an infection. However, because Ms. Tate was not instructed to be watching for these symptoms upon her discharge, it was not until she became septic that they were recognized.

Sepsis is a severe infection that is marked by an infection of the blood stream and can lead to overwhelming organ failure. The earlier sepsis is identified, the less severe its effects. Unfortunately, in Ms. Tate’s case, this early detection was not possible because of her surgeon and surgical center’s medical negligence. Ms. Tate’s overwhelming sepsis led to her quadriplegia. The now 45 year-old woman is confined to an electric wheelchair as a result of her quadriplegia. Even though she is still able to live independently, her life has been forever changed.

Ms. Tate had filed her Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit against both her surgeon, Dr. Hasson, and the surgical center where her surgery was performed, The Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC. Prior to the Illinois surgical error trial, Dr. Hasson settled for $1 million, which was the maximum limit of his medical malpractice insurance policy. Therefore, the Chicago jury was only asked to consider whether the surgical center had been negligent in its care and treatment of the plaintiff. The jury found that the surgical center was in fact negligent and held it responsible for over $5.1 million in past and future medical fees and loss of normal life for Ms. Tate.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois surgical malpractice lawsuits for over 35 years in and around Chicago and Cook County, including Harwood Heights, Rolling Meadows, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, and Lynwood.

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