Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Hospital in Medical Malpractice Case

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant Swedish Covenant Hospital and Dr. Kamal.

This wrongful death and survival action was brought by Shicheng Guo, special administrator for the estate of the deceased, Shiqian Bao. The complaint alleged that Bao was brought to Swedish Covenant’s emergency department after experiencing a severe headache. She underwent a CT scan.

A few hours after being discharged from Swedish Covenant, another doctor reviewed her CT scan and found signs of a brain bleed. Bao was called back to Swedish Covenant for treatment. She chose not to pursue further treatment at Swedish Covenant and instead immediately presented herself to the emergency department at Lutheran General Hospital. Doctors at Lutheran General did another series of tests but did not diagnose a brain bleed and discharged her from the hospital without treatment. Bao died three days later of an alleged brain hemorrhage.

The lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County entered summary judgment in favor of Dr. Kamal and International Radiology, which was also a named defendant. The court found that Dr. Kamal was not liable for medical negligence because his choosing not to identify Bao’s brain bleed was not a proximate cause of her death. The Circuit Court judge also entered summary judgment in favor of Swedish Covenant and found there was no unbroken causal link that could establish that Swedish Covenant or its alleged agents proximately caused injury to Bao.

The Bao Estate allegations were supported by an expert’s affidavit that Dr. Kamal’s negligence materially and substantially increased the risk of harm to the decedent and that Dr. Kamal presented no evidence of a subsequent intervening cause that broke the causal connection between his alleged negligence and the patient’s death.

The appeals panel found that the court erred in dismissing vicarious liability claims against Swedish Covenant, as expert discovery on the issue of proximate cause was not completed. Proximate cause is a critical issue in any medical malpractice lawsuit.

A question of fact exists as to whether the hospital, in deciding not to transmit CT images, resulted in a later doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat this patient who ultimately died as a result.

Accordingly, for these reasons the Illinois Appellate Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Shicheng Guo, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Shiqian Bao, deceased v. Kamran Kamal, M.D., 2020 IL App (1st) 190090 (March 2, 2020).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, brain injury lawsuits, hospital negligence lawsuits and nursing home negligence cases 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 Oak Lawn, Bensenville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, Waukegan, Zion, Grayslake, Crystal Lake, Round Lake, Winnetka, Glenview, South Holland, Blue Island, Chicago (Back of the Yards, Pullman, Pilsen, Roscoe Village, Beverly, Wrigleyville, Hyde Park, Irving Park, Rogers Park, Englewood, Bucktown), Kenilworth, Mundelein, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Oak Park, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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