Articles Posted in Health Law

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On May 9, the mental health facility director at Mount Sinai Hospital filed a petition alleging that Linda was a person subject to emergency involuntary admission to a treatment facility (405 ILCS 5/3-600) and had been admitted to the “Mental Health Facility/Psychiatric Unit” on April 22. On June 11, the court held a hearing; a psychiatrist testified that Linda’s hospitalization began on April 22, when she was admitted to a “medical floor,” where she was also “treated psychiatrically.” She was tachycardic and severely anemic. Linda had sitters throughout her stay on the medical floor. There had been multiple prior hospitalizations. Linda had been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and was noncompliant in taking medications. Linda’s counsel moved to dismiss the petition as untimely, having been filed more than 24 hours after admission. The court found Linda subject to involuntary admission. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court applied the public interest exception to the mootness doctrine and affirmed, finding Linda’s “physical” admission was not synonymous with “legal” admission under the Mental Health Code, and the medical floor of the hospital was not a “mental health facility” within the meaning of the statute, regardless of whether psychiatric treatment was rendered there. Legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda has not demonstrated that her physical entry into the facility, and her initial treatment, were involuntary. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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Manago was 12 years old when he was treated at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital in 2005 for injuries sustained while he was “surfing” on the roof of an elevator owned and operated by the Chicago Housing Authority. His mother’s complaint sought damages for personal injuries and included an allegation that his mother, Pritchett, had “expended and incurred obligations for medical expenses and care and will in the future expend and incur such further obligations” but did not include a claim for those expenses. The County filed a notice of lien under 770 ILCS 23/1 on behalf of the hospital for Manago’s unpaid medical bills, totaling $79,572.53. Manago turned 18; the complaint was amended accordingly. The court declined to award medical expenses, citing Pritchett’s failure to prove she was obliged to pay the hospital bill. The plaintiff was awarded $250,000 for scarring, $75,000 for pain and suffering, and $75,000 for loss of normal life. His award was reduced to $200,000 because Manago was found 50% responsible. On Manago’s motion, the trial court extinguished the hospital’s lien. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. Nothing in the Lien Act precludes a lien from attaching to a damage award recovered by or on behalf of a minor or limits the lien’s potential funding sources to sums earmarked for medical expenses. View "Manago v. County of Cook" on Justia Law

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On May 9, the Hospital's mental health facility director filed a petition seeking emergency inpatient admission of Linda under 405 ILCS 5/3-600, stating that Linda was admitted on April 22. Section 3-611 provides: “Within 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the respondent’s admission ... the facility director … shall file 2 copies of the petition ... with the court … the court shall set a hearing to be held within 5 days … after receipt of the petition. On June 11, the court held a hearing. Testimony focused on the fact that Linda had been admitted to a medical unit with medical problems but, while there, received psychiatric care. The court granted the petition. The appellate court first noted that Linda’s 90-day hospitalization had ended, rendering the appeal moot, but applied the public interest exception to mootness. The court determined that Linda’s “physical” admission to the hospital was not synonymous with “legal” admission and the medical floor, arguably, was not a “mental health facility” under the statute, so the petition was timely. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The court disagreed with the distinction drawn between the medical floor and the mental health unit but reasoned that legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda did not demonstrate that her physical entry into the facility and her initial treatment were involuntary and, therefore, did not establish that the petition was not timely. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB-GYN) licensed to practice medicine in Illinois since 1975, was reappointed to the staff at Northwestern in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, plaintiff applied for reappointment; the division chief of gynecology at the hospital, reviewed one of plaintiff’s gynecological surgeries and deemed that it did not meet relevant criteria; 21 of his cases were then reviewed. Plaintiff sued, following revocation of his privileges to practice at the hospital following a peer review conducted pursuant to the Illinois Hospital Licensing Act, 210 ILCS 85/1. The trial court entered summary judgment, finding that the hospital was immune from suit and that it had complied with its bylaws and had not engaged in any wilful and wanton conduct. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting constitutional challenges to the immunity granted by the Licensing Act. View "Valfer v. Evanston NW Healthcare" on Justia Law

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The Klaines filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Dressen and against Southern Illinois Hospital Services (SIHS), for the negligent credentialing of Dressen. During discovery SIHS provided 1,700 pages of documents. SIHS refused to provide other documents, which it listed in a privilege log, citing the Medical Studies Act (735 ILCS 5/8-2101) and the Health Care Professional Credentials Data Collection Act (410 ILCS 517/1). The circuit court agreed with SIHS, with the exception of documents contained in Group B, Group F, and Group J. SIHS complied with respect to Group B, but continued to maintain that the documents in Groups F and J were privileged. Group F consists of Dressen’s three applications to SIHS for staff privileges. Group J contains “procedure summaries and case histories” that list surgical procedures that Dressen performed at SIHS. The circuit court held SIHS in contempt and imposed a $1 monetary sanction. On interlocutory appeal, the court affirmed, with modifications: all references to an external peer review report contained in Dressen’s application for staff privileges were to be redacted, and any patient identifying information was to be redacted to the extent required by 45 C.F.R. 164.512(e). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, finding no basis for holding that a physician-patient privilege applies to raw data regarding treatment and procedures performed. View "Klaine v. S. Ill. Hosp. Servs." on Justia Law

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Lance, 53 years old, has spent much of his adult life incarcerated or institutionalized. After being paroled in 1997, he was admitted to mental health facilities 15 times before the involuntary admission at issue. In 2008 after serving a sentence for parole violations, he was involuntarily admitted to Chester Mental Health Center (CMHC). A 2011 petition included a certificate by a CMHC staff psychiatrist that described threats, violent acts, resisting treatment, and inappropriate behaviors. At the commitment hearing a CMHC social worker, testified that he had interviewed Lance and those treating him, had reviewed the clinical file, that Lance has “an Axis I diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, paraphilia NOS, history of noncompliance with the medications, and an Axis II diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder,” that Lance displayed “delusional thought content which is grandiose, paranoid, and persecutory in nature,” that he had periodic inappropriate sexual conduct, that he engaged in acts of verbal and physical aggression, and that he was noncompliant with medication. Lance appealed his involuntary admission, arguing the court violated the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 ILCS 5/1-100, by disregarding his request, in testimony, to be voluntarily admitted. The appellate court ruled more than nine months after the term of commitment ended and reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court ruling, The Mental Health Code does not require a ruling for or against voluntary admission, based on an in-court request for voluntary admission during a hearing for involuntary admission, nor does it require a court to sua sponte continue a proceeding for involuntary admission upon such a request. View "In re Lance H." on Justia Law

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A psychiatrist at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center sought a court order authorizing involuntary treatment of Rita. Stating that Rita met the criteria for a diagnosis of “schizophrenia paranoid type,” the doctor requested authorization to administer specific medications, including Risperidone, for up to 90 days. At a hearing, there was testimony about Rita’s behavior before her hospitalization, about police response to a call about Rita’s behavior, and about Rita’s own descriptions of her delusions and trying to choke herself to kill the people inside her. Rita had not threatened anyone at Chicago-Read, and no cause existed to place her in restraints or administer emergency medication. Although generally cooperative, Rita refused to attend group therapy, and would not take medication. The circuit court authorized involuntary treatment. The appellate court reversed, finding that the trial court failed to comply with the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 ILCS 5/3-816(a), requirement that final orders “shall be accompanied by a statement on the record of the court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law.” The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court order, reasoning that reading the code as “directory,” so that noncompliance can be excused, does not impair the safeguards the law is intended to protect. View "In re Rita P." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued Dr. Murphy and his employer, ECHO, alleging that Murphy was negligent in treating Anderson, who suffered a severe and permanent brain injury following emergency room treatment. ECHO billed Anderson for services physicians provided him during a previous emergency room visit, but did not bill for Murphy’s services during the Code Blue that resulted in his injury. The hospital billed Anderson for supplies used during the Code Blue. The circuit court concluded that Murphy was immune from liability under the Good Samaritan Act, 745 ILCS 49/25. The appellate court reversed, holding that the Act was meant to apply to volunteers, not to those who treat patients within the scope of their employment and are compensated for doing so. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The Act provides “Any person licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 or any person licensed to practice the treatment of human ailments in any other state or territory of the United States who, in good faith, provides emergency care without fee to a person, shall not, as a result of his or her acts or omissions, except willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person, in providing the care, be liable for civil damages.” Murphy was fully compensated for his time that day. He responded to the emergency not because he was volunteering to help but because it was his job to do so. The agreement that ECHO had with the hospital and the agreement that ECHO had with Murphy require that ECHO physicians to comply with hospital policies, and the hospital’s written policy was that emergency room physicians were to respond to Code Blues. The legislature never intended that Good Samaritan immunity would be available in this situation. View "Home Star Bank & Fin. Servs. v. Emergency Care & Health Org., Ltd." on Justia Law

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James, a 60-year old with a lengthy criminal record and a history of psychiatric hospitalizations, has been held involuntarily at the Chester Mental Health Center since 2003, under successive involuntary commitment orders entered after he had reached the mandatory parole date on his criminal sentences. As the most recent order was about to expire, the Chester facility filed a petition under the Mental Health Code (405 ILCS 5/3-813) alleging that James continued to be subject to involuntary admission, with certificates from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, stating that James was “[a] person with mental illness who, because of his illness is reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon himself or another in the near future … is unable to provide for his basic physical needs so as to guard himself from serious harm.” The petition was filed on April 29, 2010. The court set the matter for May 5, 2010. James’s attorney appeared on that date and obtained an order for independent evaluation. The independent doctor was prepared to testify that James should remain at Chester; on May 19 James’s attorney advised the court that his client had elected to have a jury. James agreed to wait unit the first available jury date in August. At trial on August 23, James expressed surprise that he had a court date and stated that he was not feeling any better. The jury returned a unanimous verdict that James was subject to involuntary admission. The appellate court held that under these particular circumstances, the delay between the jury request and the actual hearing was significant enough to be prejudicial to the patient and reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, stating that, given all of his circumstances, the delay following James’s request for a jury trial did not cause him any prejudice. View "In re James W." on Justia Law

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The plaintiff was injured in a 2003 automobile accident. He was admitted to Edward Hospital and, allegedly, was operated on without a sufficient period of fasting. During surgery he vomited and aspirated vomit into his lungs, causing cardiac arrest and an anoxic brain injury. The circuit court entered partial summary judgment that two defendant doctors were not actual agents of the hospital, but also held that there was a question of fact (precluding summary judgment) as to whether those doctors were the hospital’s apparent agents. The hospital sought dismissal on grounds of res judicata. The Illinois Supreme Court answered the circuit court’s certified question by holding that plaintiff’s claim against the hospital could go forward. The supreme court said there was only one cause of action for negligence and the ruling that there was no actual agency did not entirely dispose of the claim. There is no res judicata barrier to attempting to show that defendant hospital is liable on the basis of apparent agency. View "Wilson v. Edward Hosp." on Justia Law