Jury Holds for Doctor When Patient Dies After Trach Tube Dislodged – Estate of Holliday v. Dr. Panush

As patients, we entrust our health and well-being to our physicians and rely on their expertise to make us well. Perhaps this trust is nowhere more obvious than in Intensive Care Units (ICU), where most patients’ lives are hanging in the balance.
The wrongful death lawsuit of Estate of Tyrone Holliday v. Dr. Stephanie Panush, et al., 06 L 12318, dealt with an ICU patient who died while under the care of various ICU medical staff. Tyrone Holliday was admitted to the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center’s Neuro ICU unit after suffered a stroke in November 2005. The stroke had affected Mr. Holliday’s breathing to the point that he needed to have a tracheostomy tube placed.

The tracheostomy tube would control Mr. Holliday’s breathing; without the tube he was unable to breath on his own. According to the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit filed by Mr. Holliday’s estate, he died as a result of negligent treatment and care related to his tracheostomy tube. The allegations arose after Mr. Holliday’s tracheostomy tube became dislodged just 24 hours after it was placed. Mr. Holliday suffered respiratory arrest and died shortly thereafter.

The Chicago wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Dr. Stephanie Panush and Raymond Sedivec for their alleged negligence which the family claimed to have caused Mr. Holliday’s death. Dr. Panush was a first-year neurology resident at the time and was reportedly at Mr. Holliday’s bedside when his tube became dislodged. The medical malpractice complaint accused Dr. Panush of choosing not to prevent his death. According to the estate’s medical experts, if Dr. Panush had removed the non-functioning trach tube and bag masked Mr. Holliday to aid in his breathing, that he might have survived the ordeal. In addition, the complaint contended that Dr. Panush should have called a Code Blue given Mr. Holliday’s respiratory distress.

The surviving family members were also critical of Raymond Sedivec, a respiratory therapist who was treating Mr. Holliday. The medical malpractice complaint alleged that Mr. Sedivec should have confirmed that Mr. Holliday’s trach tube was properly placed. The implication was that had Mr. Sedivec done so, the tube would not have been dislodged and Mr. Holliday would not have died as a result of respiratory distress. The estate further contended that Mr. Sedivec was negligent in failing to properly ventilate Mr. Holliday.

At the end of the Cook County wrongful death trial, the family’s attorney asked the jury for a $9 million verdict. While the family had settled with the employment agency that hired the nurse involved in Mr. Holliday’s care for $850,000 prior to the trial, there were no settlement offers from Dr. Panush or Mr. Sedivec. The jury ruled in favor of the defendants, leaving nothing for Mr. Holliday’s surviving wife and three children.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Cook County medical malpractice cases for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Elmwood Park, Stone Park, Addison, Lombard, Evanston, and Blue Island.

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