Undiagnosed Bowel Obstruction Leads to Death and $2.4 Million Jury Verdict

On March 10, 2007, Ramona Sue Yates was a patient in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, Ill. She complained of severe back and abdominal pain. The defendant, emergency room physician, Dr. Daniel Doolittle, who was employed by the defendant Legatus Emergency Services, chose not to correctly diagnose or even suspect that Yates was suffering from a bowel obstruction and internal hernia.

Two years earlier, Yates, 47, had undergone gastric bypass surgery. Bowel obstruction is a known complication for patients following the weight-loss surgery.

Dr. Doolittle reportedly misdiagnosed Yates as having back spasms and had her admitted to the hospital for observation. Unfortunately, Yates died from the bowel obstruction the next day, March 11, 2007. She is survived by her husband and an adult son. She was employed as a nurse at a mental health facility.

Her family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Doolittle and Legatus Emergency Services, LLC claiming negligence in choosing not to order the appropriate testing and medical consultations with specialists. The jury deliberated for just two hours before returning its verdict of $2,439,544.

The verdict as to both of the defendants was made up of the following damages;

• $2,320,182 for pecuniary loss;
• $110,000 for survival pain and suffering;
• $9,362 for funeral and burial expenses.

The attorneys representing the Yates family were R. Courtney Hughes and Paul G. Schoen.

Estate of Ramona Yates, deceased v. Dr. Daniel Doolittle, Legatus Emergency Services, LLC, 09 L 36 (Williamson County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, birth injury cases and nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Berwyn, Cicero, Evergreen Park, Geneva, Joliet, Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, Lockport, Franklin Park, River Forest, Palatine, Oak Park, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Western Springs, Chicago (Edison Park, Edgebrook, Buena Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, Lincoln Square, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, McKinley Park, Morgan Park), Des Plaines and Arlington Heights, Ill.

Related blog posts:

Jury is Deadlocked After Trial in Cardiac Death Claimed Due to Improper Diagnosis and Medication

3.1 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Patient Following Heart Procedure; Estate of Teague v. Holy Cross Hospital

Jury Awards Woman $2.397 Million After Surgeon Misdiagnoses Cancer, Performs Emergency Surgery; T. P. v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Michael A. West