Green vs. Pieta

Introduction:

This case was recently brought to court in Dupage County, Illinois and it represents the intersection of several different legal and medical dimensions. Doctors often prescribe several different medications and treatments without serious acknowledgment from the patient and the negative consequences of that are exhibited here.

Filed: June 10, 2016

Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County

Category: Medical Malpractice; Informed Consent; Medications

Plaintiff: Edward Green

Defendant(s): Jacek Pieta, M.D; Elmhurst Memorial Hospital; Robert Lapporte, M.D.; Christine Jankowski, M.D.; Nooshig Salvador, M.D.; Kevin Kern, D.O.; Rong Shang, M.D.; Carlo Laforgia, M.D.; Barbara Potaczek, M.D.

Summary:

The plaintiff in this suit entered Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in January of 2014 for treatment related to pulmonary disease. Upon his admission, both he and his wife advised the treating physicians that he should not be treated with steroids. Despite this representation, the doctors treated him with steroids. Furthermore, upon his release, doctors prescribed him medications that contained steroids. Later, in March and April of the same year, he entered the same hospital for treatment related to acute hypercapnic and hypoxemic respiratory failure and a possible transient ischemic attack. In both circumstances, he was given prescriptions containing steroids despite his protestations and –from what he claims-his records that clearly show he should not have taken them. Due this intake, he claims that he suffered steroid-induced hyperglycemia as well as other various injuries.

Claims and Damages:

In his civil suit, Green finds fault with several of the physicians that treated him as well as the actual facility where he stayed. His specific claims though generally labor the same arguments against all of the accused. First, they were negligent and did not give him the requisite care that he deserved. Every physician must provide the general kind and amount of care that other physicians would in that area and field. The plaintiff here argues that did not happen. Second, they did not respect his rights. The plaintiff claims that he specifically told them not to give him steroids and by still doing so he continues that they ignored and refused his rights. Third, they did not seek or obtain his informed consent. This is a bedrock principle of medicine. Before physicians and facilities treat patients, they must itemize the treatments and gather the patient’s permission. The plaintiff believes this did not happen.

From these claims, he argues that he suffered the following damages:

  • Emotional distress
  • Agony and pain
  • Aggravation of Type 2 diabetes and Cushing’s syndrome
  • Financial losses

Insights:

  • Informed consent cases frequent Illinois courtrooms. Here, the key will be to show that the plaintiff clearly indicated to the doctors not to use steroids and that, despite these protestations, the doctors used steroids without informing the patient. Often times the nature of consent is murky because maybe the doctor told the patient something was going to happen but the latter did not understand it. This case seems more cut and dry, to the benefit of the plaintiff.
  • The majority of the claimed damages seem to be intangible reductions to the quality of the plaintiff’s life. It might be more effective to show the long-term costs (medical/financial/etc.) that the aggravated diabetes and new Cushing’s Syndrome will cause him. These are tangible things that juries can latch onto and provide a better launching pad to even more recovery.

Related Laws:

  • 735 ILCS 5/2-622
  • 740 ILCS 180
  • 750 ILCS 65/15
  • 735 ILCS 5/13-212
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1115
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1114
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1205

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