Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

by
On May 18, 2009, plaintiff’s 90-year-old mother was admitted to Peoria’s Proctor Hospital for a rectal prolapse. During Kathryn’s hospitalization, she experienced numerous complications. On May 29, 2009, Kathryn died. In March, 2010, plaintiff received Kathryn’s medical records. In April 2011, plaintiff received an oral opinion that Drs. Williamson and Salimath were negligent in treating Kathryn. On May 10, 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint against those doctors. On February 28, 2013, Kathryn’s CT scans were reviewed upon plaintiff’s request. Dr. Dachman opined that Dr. Rhode’s failure to properly identify certain findings caused or contributed to the injury and death of Kathryn. In March 2013, plaintiff filed suit under Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6), claiming medical malpractice against Rhode. Defendants argued that plaintiff had sufficient information more than two years before he filed his complaint to put him on inquiry to determine whether actionable conduct was involved, so that, even if the “discovery rule” applied, the complaint was untimely. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice. A divided appellate court affirmed, reasoning that the discovery rule had no application to wrongful death or survival actions because both causes of action were legislatively created and not found at common law and that, even if that rule were applied, plaintiff’s complaint would be untimely. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, finding the discovery rule applicable. A factual determination must be made as to when the statute of limitations began to run. Plaintiff filed his lawsuit less than two years after receiving the initial verbal medical expert report and within the four-year statute of repose. View "Moon v. Rhode" on Justia Law

by
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

by
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

by
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) permanently revoked the health care licenses of physicians (plaintiffs) pursuant to the Department of Professional Regulation Law (20 ILCS 2105/2105-165) as a result of plaintiffs’ prior misdemeanor convictions for battery and criminal sexual abuse of their patients. The circuit court of Cook County dismissed their challenges. The appellate court and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting claims that the Act: did not apply to individuals who were convicted of a triggering offense prior to the Act’s effective date; was impermissibly retroactive and impaired certain fundamental rights, in violation of substantive due process; violated procedural due process; was unenforceable based on the res judicata effect of the previous discipline imposed by the Department; violated federal and state constitutional protections against double jeopardy; violated the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder; violated the federal takings clause; and violated federal and state constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto law. View "Hayashi v. IL Dep't of Fin. & Prof'l Regulation" on Justia Law

by
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

by
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

by
In 2003, the doctor was charged by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation with violating the Illinois Medical Practice Act in connection with electro-convulsive shock treatment of a patient. Administrative proceedings were stayed while the doctor pursued, among other things, a claim that a provision of the Department’s rules concerning evidentiary hearsay was invalid. The circuit court invalidated the rule in 2005, but later vacated its judgment. The appellate court reinstated the invalidation ruling in 2007, and the Department closed the case without prejudice in 2008. The doctor then filed a petition for a statutory award of his litigation expenses. The circuit court refused to award the fees, but the appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and reinstated the denial, stating that the statutory fees that are available for invalidating an administrative rule must be sought while there is still jurisdiction over the matter. The doctor waited 33 months after the original circuit court order invalidating the rule and more than one year after the appellate court reinstated that order. The courts no longer maintained jurisdiction to hear his fee petition. View "Rodriquez v. Dep't of Fin. & Prof'l Regulation" on Justia Law

by
In a medical malpractice case, alleging failure to diagnose apendicitis, the court gave Civil Jury Instruction 105.01 (2006), which refers to a "reasonably careful," as opposed to a "reasonably well-qualified" (the 2005 instruction) professional. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs and the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the jury instruction does not accurately state the law, but affirmed. The 2006 instruction eliminated the distinction between institutional negligence, which can be proven without expert testimony, and professional negligence, which requires expert testimony. The hospital was not prejudiced by the instruction because expert testimony was presented in connection with a vicarious liability claim. The court rejected the hospital's argument that the instruction was confusing and allowed jurors to consider personal knowledge in determining what is reasonable. View "Studt v. Sherman Health Systems" on Justia Law

by
The plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful-birth and negligent infliction of emotional distress, based on medical-provider defendants' failure to inform them that their older child had a genetic mutation. They claim that they would not have conceived a second child if they had been given correct information. The trial court held that damages available in a wrongful-birth action do not include the extraordinary costs of caring for a disabled child after he reaches the age of majority. The appellate court held that plaintiff parents in a wrongful-birth case may recover damages for the cost of caring for their dependent,disabled, adult child and that the plaintiffs had adequately pleaded a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Illinois Supreme Court remanded, noting a question of fact concerning when the limitations period began to run. The court affirmed the holding that the plaintiffs have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress; the "zone of danger" test does not apply when damages for emotional distress are an element of another tort. The court reversed and reinstated the judgment that plaintiffs may not recover damages for the postmajority expenses of caring for their son; damages incurred after the age of majority are incurred by the child, who suffered no legal harm.