Cook County Brain Injury Following Cardiac Arrest Leads to $5 Million Settlement – Estate of David v. Rush Northshore Hospital

A Cook County medical malpractice settlement for $5 million was approved by Cook County Circuit Court Judge William B. Maddux, marking the close of the Illinois lawsuit of The Estate of Shamiran David v. Rush Northshore Medical Center, et al., No. 07 L 8444. The Chicago medical negligence lawsuit was brought by the family of a woman who suffered a brain injury in the days following her heart surgery at Rush Northshore Medical Center.

While Mrs. David’s aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass grafting performed at Rush Northshore Medical Center went well, it was the complications following the surgery that led to Mrs. David’s brain injury and subsequent death. The case of Mrs. David can serve as a reminder to both patients and doctors that a successful surgery alone does not guarantee a positive outcome for a patient.

Mrs. David was discharged from the hospital following her surgery and sent home. However, the 59 year-old Cook County resident began to develop complications from her cardiac surgery within a few days of her discharge. She presented to her primary care physician with complaints of difficulty breathing and chest pains.

The Cook County wrongful death lawsuit alleged that at the time of her doctor visit Mrs. David was exhibiting the signs and symptoms of fluid buildup around her heart, a known complication of heart surgery. The medical records from her visit indicate her physician was aware of her elevated heart rate and elevated respiratory rate, yet chose not to intervene.

Specifically, the decedent’s attorneys and experts allege that the primary care physician should have adjusted her Coumadin dosage. Coumadin is an anticoagulant, i.e. a medication meant to prevent blood clotting, and is often prescribed to patients with heart problems. However, one of the dangers of Coumadin is that it can also cause widespread bleeding because it limits the blood’s ability to clot.

A few days later, Mrs. David was readmitted to Rush Northshore Medical Center, where doctors underwent efforts to relieve the massive fluid buildup around her heart. However, in the midst of these efforts Mrs. David went into cardiac arrest. While the physicians at Rush were able to revive Mrs. David, she suffered an anoxic brain injury during her cardiac arrest.

An anoxic brain injury is a brain injury caused when the brain receives dangerously low levels of oxygen for a period of four minutes or more. This type of injury can occur during a cardiac arrest because the heart stops pumping blood to the brain and blood carries the oxygen that the brain needs to function properly.

While Mrs. David survived for another four and a half months before succumbing to complications of her permanent brain injury. The Cook County wrongful death settlement of $5 million was reached with Rush Northshore Medical Center, Dr. Robert Higgins, and Dr. Audisho Khoshaba.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits in and around Chicago and Cook County for more than 35 years, including the surrounding areas of Glenview, Calumet City, Prospect Heights, and Elk Grove Village.

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