Illinois Hospital Admits Liability for Post-Operative Patient Injury

A Cook County medical malpractice lawsuit received a jury verdict of $1.1 million against the defendant hospital. The case revolved around the medical negligence of a Cook County hospital, which led to need for several additional surgeries for the 60-some year-old plaintiff.

In 2006, the plaintiff was a patient at Northwest Community Hospital, where she had recently undergone a knee replacement surgery. In her second day of recovery following her surgery, the plaintiff fell while using the bedside commode in her hospital room.

Considering that the plaintiff had just had a knee replacement surgery, she was at risk for falls and should have had a plan of care in place that would prevent such falls from occurring. Upon investigation, it seemed that the plaintiff did in fact have such a plan of care in place – her physician had written an order stating that the plaintiff needed her knee immobilizer on and required two people to assist her when using the bedside commode.

At the Illinois medical malpractice trial, plaintiff’s attorneys alleged that the hospital personnel had ignored these physician’s orders and had instead allowed the plaintiff to stand on her own when using the bedside commode. The plaintiff’s attorneys further alleged that it was while standing on her own that the plaintiff fell.

At the beginning of the trial, the hospital admitted liability and causation for the fall. However, the hospital disputed the extent of her injuries and damages. As a result of the hospital admitting liability for the plaintiff’s fall, the jury was only required to consider the nature and extent of her injuries.
The plaintiff claimed that as a result of her fall, the surgical wound from her knee replacement reopened and became infected. As a result of her fall, the plaintiff required three additional surgeries, including the removal of her knee prosthesis, the insertion of an antibiotic spacer in lieu of her knee for three months, and eventually a new knee replacement surgery.

In addition, while confined to her bed during the three months the antibiotic spacer was inserted, the plaintiff developed a bedsore on her left heel, for which she was also seeking damages from the jury. It was this claim of damages for the bedsore that the hospital was disputing. It denied that the heel bedsore was caused by any negligence on behalf of Northwest Community Hospital or its nursing staff. Presumably the main basis for this argument was that the plaintiff did not develop the bedsore at Northwest Community Hospital; she was admitted to an Illinois nursing home at the time.

At the conclusion of the Cook County medical malpractice trial, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $1,100,317. The jury verdict was comprised of $355,233 in medical expenses; $25,084 in lost income; $300,000 for pain and suffering; $300,000 for emotional distress; $100,000 for disability; and $20,000 for disfigurement.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical negligence and Chicago nursing home abuse cases for more than 35 years in and around Chicago and its surrounding areas including the Bridgeport area of Chicago, Highwood, Park Forest and Libertyville.

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