U.S. Court of Appeals Confirms Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Brought for Failure to Diagnose and Treat Stroke Symptoms

Dennis Davis, an Illinois prisoner suffering from kidney disease, received dialysis on a Saturday. He later told the prison nurse that his mind was fuzzy and his body was weak. Both of these complaints were similar to other side effects he had experienced in the past after dialysis treatment. The nurse called Dr. Francis Kayira, the prison’s medical director, who asked her whether Davis had asymmetrical grip strength, facial droop, or drooling. These are classic signs of a stroke.

When the nurse said “no,” Dr. Kayira determined that Davis was experiencing the same dialysis-related side effects as before rather than something more serious.

Dr. Kayira told the nurse to monitor Davis and call him if the symptoms worsened. Dr. Kayira did not hear anything for the rest of the weekend. On the following Monday morning, Dr. Kayira examined Davis and discovered that Davis in fact had suffered a stroke.

Davis sued the prison doctor, alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and included a state-law medical-malpractice lawsuit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago affirmed summary judgement in favor of Dr. Kayira. The deliberate-indifference claim failed because there was no evidence that Dr. Kayira was aware of symptoms suggesting that Mr. Davis was suffering a stroke.

The state-law claim also failed because Davis lacked expert testimony about the appropriate medical standard of care for such a setting. A federal magistrate judge had blocked Davis’ sole expert because he was not disclosed in a timely fashion. Davis never objected to that ruling before the district court judge.

Accordingly, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal by summary judgment.

Davis v. Kayira, 18-2456 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Sept. 16, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, nursing negligence lawsuits, physician negligence lawsuits and birth trauma injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones in state and federal courts 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 Waukegan, Lake Forest, North Chicago, Zion, Wauconda, Cary, Crystal Lake, Wheeling, Barrington Hills, Fox River Grove, Hawthorne Woods, Addison, Northlake, Melrose Park, Lombard, West Chicago, Country Club Hills, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Hazel Crest, Chicago (West Pullman, South Chicago, Avalon Park, Greater Grand Crossing, South Side, Fuller Park, McKinley Park, Little Village, Lower West Side, Wicker Park, Uptown), Rosemont, Schaumburg, Schiller Park and River Grove, Ill.

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