Johnson vs. Malinowski

Introduction:

This case started off as an innocuous visit to the dentist’s office. However, after the doctor noticed an infection, the incident escalated beyond anything the plaintiff could have possibly imagined.

Filed: June 3, 2016

Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois, Cook County

Category: Medical Malpractice; Dentistry

Plaintiff: Barbara Johnson

Defendants: Sharon Malinowski, D.D.S.; Sharon Malinowski, D.D.S., P.C.

Summary:

Barbara Johnson went to see her dentist, Sharon Malinowski, on June 3rd of 2014. On that day, Johnson underwent root planning and scaling on the left side of her mouth. Then, on June 10, 2014, Malinowski also performed root planning and scaling on Johnson for the right side of her mouth. Finally, on June 16, 2014, Johnson also had to undergo composite filling. Throughout the entirety of these operations, according to Johnson, Malinowski knew that the patient also had an infection but did not recommend or prescribe antibiotics. Eventually, the infection spread to her brain and she developed a lesion on her right frontal lobe. Her condition worsened to such a point that she needed craniotomy to remove a part of the affected brain matter. Doctors performing this operation and treating Johnson advised her that probably stemmed from the same same issue for which she saw Malinowski.

Claims And Damages:

The foundation of this lawsuit is medical malpractice-that Malinowski and her dental company did not provide adequate healthcare. Accordingly, many of the specific claims within her complaint go to the point of showing that the dentist failed to deliver the relevant stand of care. For example, the plaintiff claims that Malinowski did not sufficiently treat the abscess in her mouth that caused the infection. Also, Johnson claims that Malinowski did not recommend antibiotics despite knowing about the presence of the infection and knowing that antibiotics could limit its spread. Other parts of the suit attempt to portray Malinowski’s service as unreasonable and the brain complications as a consequence of that.

In her suit, Johnson claims to have suffered from various injuries including brain damage, medical bills, and other financial losses.

Insights:

  • Brain damage injuries often return compensations in the highest brackets because of their inherent seriousness especially when the incident comes from no part on the plaintiff as in this case.
  • The key part to highlight here is that apparently at no point did the dentist inform the patient of the infection. This lack of communication did not afford her the chance to stop it before it reached her brain. This lost chance to prevent the extraordinary injury that resulted should translate into great prospects at court.
  • One defense that the defendant might try and use is preexisting or alternative injury. This means that maybe the plaintiff’s brain issue stemmed from something else. To combat this, the plaintiff should prepare expert testimony and witness to highlight how the defendant’s misconduct caused these specific injuries and other issues are not to blame.

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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