Cook County Jury Finds No Medical Malpractice in Death of Patient from Brain Hemorrhage

General practitioner physician Dr. Ram Thawani was the attending physician for Peter Gates during his hospitalization at Chicago’s South Shore Hospital on Oct. 23, 2009. Gates, 57, died from a brain herniation, which is a swelling of the brain, and a brain hemorrhage on Oct. 29, 2009. Gates was survived by his wife and seven daughters.

The Gates family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Thawani claiming that he was negligent in choosing not to order a CT scan of the head, despite complaints of severe headaches with pain, described as level 10 on a scale of 1-10. Gates was also taking a blood thinner, Coumadin, at the time.

The defendant doctor argued that the headaches had waxed and waned and were associated with a fever of recent onset. He also said there was no focal neurological deficits to point to any problem in the brain, and the brain hemorrhage was a sudden event that no surgical intervention could have averted.

Before trial, the attorney representing the Gates family, Mark R. McKenna, asked to settle the case for the physician’s malpractice insurance policy limits, which were $1 million. At trial, Mr. McKenna asked the jury to return a verdict of $6,500,000. The parties entered into a high-low agreement whereby the low $250,000 was the outcome given the jury’s verdict of not guilty. The high of that agreement was $1 million.

This case is reminiscent of a case that Kreisman Law Offices handled in which the patient was diagnosed with a meningioma or a benign brain tumor. After discharge in that case, the patient reported the worst headache of her life, a 10 on the pain scale. Since she was recently seen by a neurologist, she was not readmitted after a return to the emergency department. Her condition reached the deadly brain herniation level, and she passed away. The case against the neurologist, emergency department physician and the hospital were resolved prior to the start of the trial.

Estate of Peter Gates v. Dr. Ram Thawani, No. 11 L 10868 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, Schaumburg, Naperville, Orland Park, Palatine, Palos Hills, Niles, Des Plaines, Morton Grove, Park Ridge, Riverside, Bridgeview, Matteson, Crete, Worth, Alsip, Blue Island, Evanston, Wilmette and Glenview, Ill.

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