Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The Illinois Appellate Court reversed the Will County associate judge’s April 2017 decision to deny plaintiff Susan Steed’s post-trial motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. In this case, Steed’s husband, Glenn Steed, suffered an Achilles tendon injury playing basketball. After the Feb. 17, 2009 injury, his right leg and ankle were placed in a cast two days after the injury by the defendant doctors at Rezin Orthopedics.

He was ordered to follow up in two weeks, but the receptionist at the defendant’s office did not schedule an appointment until March 13, 2009.

On Feb. 20, 2009, he told his wife that his cast was uncomfortable. Five days later he called the defendant’s office to have his follow-up rescheduled. The receptionist changed his appointment to March 12, 2009, but on March 8, 2009, he suffered a fatal blood clot that traveled to one of his lungs, resulting in his death.

After a jury trial in November 2016, the jurors found in favor of both of the defendants, Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine S.C.

After the trial judge denied Susan Steed’s motion for judgment N.O.V. she appealed to the 3d District Illinois Appellate Court, contending the judge should have entered a judgment against Rezin Orthopedics on the issue of liability.

In order to show negligence against the health care provider, she needed to show Rezin deviated from the standard of care and that the deviation was the proximate cause of her husband’s death.

The standard of care of a “reasonable careful” treating institution such as Rezin Orthopedics was to schedule follow-up appointments, according to what it says on the accompanying patient paperwork.
Rezin Orthopedics breached the standard of care, the appeals panel wrote, when its receptionist did not schedule a two-week follow-up appointment as the paperwork requested for Glenn Steed. Those facts were not disputed, according to the court documents.

The defendants argued against the finding of judgment notwithstanding the verdict because there was sufficient evidence to show that it was within the professional standard of care to schedule a follow-up appointment for an Achilles tear within four weeks. However, the appellate court wrote the issue on appeal is not whether a directed verdict is appropriate against the treating physician, rather, whether one is necessary against Rezin Orthopedics based on its breach of its general standard of care.

“Based on the standard of care applied to an orthopedic treatment facility, all the evidence as to Rezin Orthopedics’ negligence so overwhelmingly favors plaintiff that no verdict for defendant could ever stand.”

The three-panel 3d District Illinois Appellate Court were unanimous in their concurring decision.
Susan Steed was represented by Lauren Levin Budz and Martin J. Lucas.

The reversal remands the case back to the Will County trial court on its order for a damages trial only.

Steed v. Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine S.C., et al.
, 2019 IL App 170299-U.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence lawsuits, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits and birth trauma injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Morton Grove, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Prospect Heights, Palatine, Barrington, Long Grove, Lake Zurich, North Barrington, Half Day, Highwood, Calumet Heights, Lake Bluff, Waukegan, Gurnee, Inverness, Elk Grove Village, Roselle, Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Carol Stream, Oakbrook Terrace, LaGrange Park, Berwyn, Maywood, Chicago (McKinley Park, Bronzeville, Kenwood, Woodlawn, East Side, Riverdale, Washington Heights, Washington Park, Avalon Park, East Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Little Italy, Printer’s Row, Near West Side, River North, Rush and Division, Gold Coast, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park, Belmont Gardens, Irving Park), Franklin Park, Itasca, Addison, Hinsdale, Geneva, Wheaton, West Chicago and Naperville, Ill.

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