Hospital’s Attempt for Contribution in Medical Malpractice Case Causing Permanent Paralysis Ends in Favor of Nurse, Medical Staffing Company

On June 13, 2005, Raymond Jackson, then 50, was admitted to. Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill., for intractable back pain. He had a pre-existing condition of spine problems and was suffering from an unstable fracture of the T-12 vertebrae, which was not timely diagnosed and treated and caused him to sustain permanent paraplegia by 8 a.m. on June 16, 2005. He died of related causes in 2008.

His medical malpractice lawsuit against several of the defendants settled for $2.77 million in 2012, which included $2.5 million from Provena Hospitals on behalf of its employee nurses and an outside nursing contractor.

The lawsuit had included allegations that after a flat bedrest order was entered at 5 p.m. on June 15, the nursing staff chose not to follow the doctor’s orders to keep the patient on flat bedrest and chose not to prevent him from moving during the next 15 hours, which caused or contributed to the hematoma that was found compressing his spinal cord.

An outside contractor, nurse Janeth Kreis, provided nursing care during the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. nursing shift when the patient was found by her sitting up during that shift.

A Provena employee handled the overnight shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The nurse on duty then admitted that she had violated the order and used a Hoyer lift to move the patient to a chair.

Before the settlement in the Jackson case, Provena had filed a third-party contribution action against Kreis and her employer, Dreyfuss Medical Staffing.

At trial, Provena requested to recover 50% of the settlement amount it paid to Jackson, contending that Kreis’s actions caused or contributed to the patient’s paralysis.

Kreis maintained she followed the doctor’s order; she found the patient sitting up in bed against her instructions one hour after she had told him not to, and he remained in bedrest for the remainder of her shift. The defendants argued that Provena was obliged to settle the case because of the admission of negligence by the hospital-employed nurse and that there was no negligence during Kreis’ shift.

The attorney for Provena Hospitals made a demand of $1 million and asked the jury to return a verdict of $1,250,000. There was no offer to settle by the defendants, Janeth Kreis, R.N. and Dreyfuss Medical Staffing. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and found that 100% of the liability was with Provena Hospitals and 0% with Provena St. Joseph Medical Center and no responsibility for Jackson’s outcome to be blamed on Kreis or the medical staffing company, Dreyfuss Medical Staffing.

At trial, experts in nursing, orthopedics, neuroradiology and neurosurgery all testified.

Provena Hospitals, Provena St. Joseph Medical Centers v. Janeth Kreis, R.N., Dreyfuss Medical Staffing, Inc., No. 13 L 47 (Will County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, wrongful death actions and hospital negligence 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 Morton Grove, Niles, Des Plaines, Evergreen Park, Elk Grove Village, Berwyn, Rolling Meadows, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Bridgeview, Orland Park, Hazel Crest, Country Club Hills, Naperville, Elgin, Aurora, St. Charles, Chicago Heights and Melrose Park, Ill.

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