Illinois Jury Returns Verdict For Family of Woman Who Died of Chicken Pox – Estate of Koenig v. St. Mary’s Hospital, et al.

A Kankakee County, Illinois jury returned a $1.5 million medical malpractice jury verdict in favor of the family of a 20 year old woman who died of multi-organ failure connected to undiagnosed chicken pox. Michelle Koenig, who had a history of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, had been put on intravenous steroids and then prednisone, which generally suppressed her immune system. Estate of Koenig v. St. Mary’s Hospital, et al.,No. 07 L 18, focused on the emergency room’s negligence.

Koenig had chicken pox as a child, but the virus reactivated due to her suppressed immune system. She showed the chicken pox with a rash that her parents and friends commented, looked like chicken pox.

Koenig came to the emergency department at Provena St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee on February 19, 2006. The emergency room doctor, Timothy Moran did not diagnose the chicken pox even though it showed on her body and her liver enzymes were at levels above normal. She died within 30 hours of that visit.

At the trial, attorneys for Koenig argued that the emergency room negligence was a result of Dr. Moran’s choice not to rule out chicken pox as a potential ailment. Furthermore, Dr. Moran did not recognize that the elevated liver enzymes were an indication that the virus had invaded her liver.

Just 24 hours later, Koenig went to another hospital where her elevated liver enzymes were recognized as a threat to her. On the way to Northwestern Hospital by airlift, Michelle Koenig died.
One of plaintiff’s experts testified at trial that had Dr. Moran recognized and treated Koenig with an antiviral drug, acyclovir, it would have eradicated the virus and she would have survived, living a normal life.

Defendants’ attorney argued that the use of the antiviral drug would not have prevented the death, stating that it does work as quickly as plaintiff contended and that the patient’s liver was irreparably damaged by the time she saw Dr. Moran.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois emergency room error lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Naperville, Inverness, Winnetka, and Blue Island.

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