Hospitals are sprawling centers with numerous functions and departments. With the incredible influx of patients that they receive, they also incur substantial responsibility for taking care of them. Unfortunately, they do not always meet this obligation and sometimes their patients are harmed because of it. Here are some cases that deal with hospital negligence in Illinois.
2015; Illinois; $842,350 Jury Award:
This case started off innocently enough. Staff at the hospital prepared a patient for a CT scan. They brought her into the examination room and injected her with the standard IV contrast dye. Not long after this, the woman experienced significant pain and fell to the floor. Doctors later discovered that she was allergic to the contrast dye. This realization did not prevent her from being seriously injured from the allergic reaction and subsequent fall.
She sued the hospital for negligence arguing that they should have monitored her better, checked her for allergies, and, most significantly, instituted better procedures and protocols to preclude this from happening. The hospital denied these allegations but the facts spoke for themselves: they injected her with something she was allergic to and she was harmed because of it. The jury awarded her $842,350 in the following categories:
- Pain and suffering:
2014; Illinois; $17,000,000 Jury Award:
A child in this case was staying at a hospital for various reasons when doctors decided to perform a Sistrunk procedure. The aim of this procedure was to remove a cyst in his throat. The difficulty in these circumstances was that the kid was only 19 months old. So when surgeons started the surgery they accidentally punctured his throat.
This and other failures caused the child to have hematoma, air loss, and other critical health failures. This negligence was compounded by the conduct of the nurses who exacerbated the throat puncture by failing to monitor his vital signs.
The consequence of this calamitous series of events was that he suffered permanent brain damage and was never able to speak. His parents sued for negligence but the defendants claimed that these results were known risks and unpreventable. They refused to settle, unfortunately for them, because the jury awarded them $17,000,000 for his damages.
2014; Illinois; $5,000,000 Award:
The victim in this case was a man in his mid-fifties. He had just undergone an angioplasty in his neck-a procedure that tries to repair a blocked or broken blood vessel. After the surgery had completed, he complained to nurses about pain in the treated area.
Unfortunately, they did not follow up or refer his case to a physician. He died from these complications. His estate sued the hospital and nurses for negligence by failing to monitor his situation and contact a doctor. The doctor who performed the surgery settled with his estate for $1,000,000 but the hospital denied all claims in the lawsuit. Eventually, the jury found that were deficient in caring for him and awarded him $4,000,000 ($2,750,000 for loss of services and $1,250,000 for pain and suffering). Thus, the total compensation of the estate was $5,000,000.
2015; New Jersey $10,000,000 Settlement:
A child just over the age of one was brought into a hospital for symptoms associated with pneumonia. Doctors elected to perform discovery surgery and instructed nurses to intubate the child. This requires a tube to be placed down the patient’s throat to improve breathing. Unfortunately, the nurses had a hard time with this procedure. In fact, it took them three tries to actually place the tube in his throat.
By that time, the kid had already suffered extreme oxygen loss. This resulted in extensive and permanent brain loss that prevented him from ever walking or talking. Plus, expert witnesses testified that because of the negligent care his life expectancy was only 30 years old. To right this wrong, the child’s parents sued the hospital for malpractice. Both sides settled shortly after the suit initiated for $10,000,000.
2015; Rhode Island; $25,600,000 Jury Award:
This was a very interesting case for a few reasons. A man went to a Rhode Island hospital after he suffered an injury to the head. Then, not much is known except for the fact that his condition worsened dramatically to the extent that his brain was permanently damaged. It also left him with many other debilitating injuries.
We do know that the plaintiff generally argued that it was the fault of the hospital for letting his condition fall to such a level while under its care. Also, we know that just after the trial began the hospital even admitted responsibility for these harms. Thus, the trial was only about damages, not liability. The jury awarded him $25,600,000: $5,600,000 for compensatory damages; $15,000,000 for pain and suffering; and $5,000,000 for loss of support.
2014; Pennsylvania; $1,500,000 Jury Award:
Here, the patient was almost in the clear after surgery but complications later killed him. Specifically, he was admitted to a hospital for cardiac care and treatment. Doctors ordered surgery for arterial repair. The procedure was completed with problem.
Surgeons directed nurses to administer a blood pressure drug, Labetalol, every five minutes if his blood pressure rose above 120. Even though his blood pressure never got that high, nurses still administered the drug approximately every two minutes. Consequently, his pressure fell to critical levels and he died despite emergency care.
The patient’s estate sued the hospital for negligence but the latter denied any wrongdoing. A jury disagreed with it and awarded the man’s representatives $1,500,000 ($1,200,000 for emotional distress; $20,000 for funeral costs; $280,000 for economic damages).