Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Verdict for Hospital in Medical Malpractice Suit that Alleged Negligence in the Death of a 2-Year-Old Child

After the death of 2-year-old Miranda Eid, Miranda’s parents, Mohammed and Lisa Eid, filed a lawsuit against Loyola University Medical Center alleging negligent medical treatment following her pacemaker replacement surgery.

Lisa Eid also sought damages for reckless infliction of emotional distress based on Loyola’s nurses leaving medical tubing in place when Miranda’s body was released for burial. The Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of Loyola; the Eids appealed.

On appeal, the Eid family argued that (1) the jury’s verdict in favor of Loyola on the claims of medical negligence and reckless infliction of emotional distress was against the manifest way of the evidence; (2) the circuit court erroneously upheld Loyola’s claim of privilege under section 8-2101 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (known as the Medical Studies Act) (735 ILCS 5/8-2101 et seq. (West 2012)) for information that was generated for the use of Loyola’s peer review committee when a designee of Miranda’s treatment and instructed another member of the committee to assemble information concerning the incident; (3) the circuit court improperly instructed the jury on the law concerning the claim of reckless infliction of emotional distress; and (4) defense counsel’s alleged improper remark during closing argument confused the jury, and the additional instructions the circuit court gave the jury did not correct the alleged confusion.

For background, the appeal arose from the death of the 2-year-old girl during her recovery from surgery to replace her pacemaker. Miranda Eid was born in 2010 with a chromosomal abnormality that resulted in several anatomical defects, including an inverted heart structure and dextrocardia, a condition in which the heart is located in the right, rather than in the left chest. Miranda also had an atrioventricular block, a condition in which the impulses from the upper chambers of the heart are blocked from the lower chambers. To fix the block, Miranda underwent surgery when she was six days old to implant a pacemaker.

The case here arose two years later when Miranda needed a new pacemaker. On Feb. 10, 2012, Miranda had surgery at Loyola to replace the old pacemaker with a new one. During the surgery, a small laceration occurred on the surface of the heart. The laceration was sutured with a single stitch. Prior to the closing of the skin, the surgeons placed a tube in Miranda’s chest to drain fluid. At the conclusion of the surgery, Miranda was stable and the surgeons advised Mr. and Mrs. Eid that the procedure had been successful. Miranda was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit at 2 p.m.

However, a few hours later, Miranda became agitated. Nurse Matz gave Miranda a small dose of Versed, a sedative narcotic, to help her relax as well as a Fentanyl drip to help with any pain. About six and a half hours later, another nurse reported that Miranda appeared fussy and uncomfortable.This nurse than administered a small dose of Versed. Shortly thereafter, Miranda’s breathing became shallow and irregular. The nurse immediately called Nurse Matz to the room to assess any changes in Miranda’s condition.

At approximately 8:45 p.m., a code was called identifying an emergent situation with Miranda. A code team arrived in less than a minute. The two nurses administered medications and blood, performed compressions and tests, and protected Miranda’s airway. Over the next two hours, 10-15 nurses, residents and physicians conducted tests and worked to diagnose Miranda’s adverse symptoms and tried to resolve the problem.

Blood was drawn that showed that Miranda’s blood gas levels were extremely low. Although the staff continued with resuscitation efforts, it became clear that the efforts were futile. Miranda was declared dead on Feb. 10, 2012. The next day Miranda’s body was transferred to a funeral home.

The trial judge upheld Loyola’s claim of privilege under the Medical Studies Act for the disputed 13 pages of documents. The trial judge stated that it had reviewed Loyola’s bylaws extensively and noted that section 2.1 of the medical staff bylaws specifically indicated that the chief medical officer of the hospital was permitted to begin an investigation.

The Eids argued that a new trial was warranted because the jury’s verdict for Loyola on the Eids’ medical negligence claim was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Specifically, the Eids argued that the three blood tests done after 9:30 p.m. were clear and obvious evidence of internal bleeding and indicated that re-exploratory surgery should have been done.

In addition, the Eids argued that a new trial was warranted because the jury’s verdict for Loyola on the reckless infliction of emotional distress claim was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The Eids argued that Mrs. Eid suffered severe emotional distress when she witnessed the removal of medical tubes from Miranda’s body at the funeral home and that this distress occurred because one of the nurses at Loyola recklessly, and contrary to Loyola’s protocol, left medical tubes in Miranda’s body after it had clearly been determined that neither a medical examiner autopsy nor a private autopsy would be done.

The Illinois Appellate Court concluded that the jury verdict in favor of Loyola on the claims of medical negligence and reckless infliction of emotional distress was not against the manifest weight of the evidence; the Medical Studies Act’s privilege applied to the information generated by the investigation and was warranted; the non-IPI jury instruction concerning the tort of reckless infliction of emotional distress was accurate, clear and did not mislead the jury; and, the Eids did not suffer substantial prejudice from the remarks by Loyola’s counsel during the closing argument.

Accordingly, the circuit court’s judgment was affirmed.

Eid v. Loyola University Medical Center, 2017 IL App (1st) 143967 (February 24, 2017) Cook County, Ill., 5th Division.

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling wrongful death cases, birth trauma injury cases, hospital negligence cases and medical malpractice cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding communities, including Hinsdale, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Waukegan, Joliet, Aurora, St. Charles, Geneva, Worth, Blue Island, South Holland, Barrington, Bellwood, Chicago (Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Chinatown, Pill Hill, Pilsen, Gold Coast, The Loop), Flossmoor, Crestwood, Forest Park and Park Ridge, Ill.

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