U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Jury Verdict in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Under Federal Tort Claims Act

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, the judge’s bench trial decision was affirmed. In this case, Phillip Madden brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States from an ultimately fatal medical incident in which he suffered while in the care, custody and control of the Jessie Brown Veterans Administration (V.A.) Medical Hospital. After this bench trial, the district court found in favor of the United States. Madden appealed.

Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions, including but not limited to: morbid obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the V.A. Hospital several times leading up to his last admission on Dec. 28, 2007.

In this case, the issue was whether the parties’ experts provided sufficient credible evidence. The record contained sufficient evidence in support of the district court’s finding that the United States’ medical expert was credible and that Madden’s medical expert was not credible in this wrongful death claim. He died after he went into cardiac arrest.

While Madden’s counsel argued that the district court was biased against him when finding that the V.A. Hospital’s medical expert was credible, the district court could properly find that the United States’ expert witness was credible, where opinions were drawn from plaintiff’s medical records, as well as from relevant medical literature and data, while plaintiff’s expert was not credible since: (1) his testimony brought to light his lack of familiarity with numerous sections of plaintiff’s medical records; and (2) his opinions were based on facts that were not supportive of plaintiff’s medical records or relevant medical literature.

The district court could also discount plaintiff’s expert by the fact that this expert had innate bias due to his relationship with the plaintiff’s family prior to Madden’s death.

For these and other reasons, the court of appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment and decision in favor of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States.

Madden v. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, No. 16-3740 (U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Cir., Oct. 17, 2017).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits and birth trauma injury cases for individuals, families and the loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Arlington Heights, Naperville, Aurora, St. Charles, Geneva, Waukegan, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Bensenville, Crestwood, Forest Park, Maywood, Hinsdale, Wheaton, North Riverside, Wilmette, Chicago (Rogers Park, Jefferson Park, Jackson Park, South Shore, East Side, West Town, Greek Town, Little Italy), Long Grove, Tinley Park and Schaumburg, Ill.

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