Over the last twenty years, the healthcare industry has exploded to extraordinary heights and that is only going to increase due to recent legislation that is supposed to open hospital doors to a lot more people. With this new class of patients, there are bound to be mistakes and accidents-- generally referred to as 'medical malpractice'. Unfortunately, mess-ups in a hospital or doctor's office tend to be very costly and dangerous to victims. So it should not come as any surprise that medical malpractice cases are some of the most famous and recognizable cases in all litigation.
Please review the pages below for specific information on different types of medical malpractice cases:
- How Much are Surgical Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Prescription Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Hospital Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Emergency Room Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Anesthesia Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Psychiatry Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Urology Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
- How Much are Pulmonary Embolism Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
Past Illinois Medical Malpractice Awards and Cases
Medical malpractice is an incredibly broad field of law. It is as varied as the wide range of medicine in which the accidents take place. To better understand what kind and size of recovery may be available to you, look at what others with similar injuries have received. We arranged some of the most common scenarios of medical malpractice below with case summaries to give you and idea of what is possible in litigation. However, you should also contact us if you have been injured by a healthcare provider so that we can explain how the law affects your facts and circumstances.
How Much are Surgical Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
Case: Miner vs. The University Of Chicago Medical Center
Jurisdiction: Cook County
Recovery: $1,900,000 Settlement
This unfortunate incident began when medical staff and physicians failed to remove a spinal epidural from a patient's body. After a certain amount of time, the patient started to feel pain in her back and numbness in her neck because of the lodged item. She went back to the hospital to inform them of this but it took nearly a day and a half before it was removed.
She nearly died from the affair and was permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Not long after these events transpired, she sued for medical malpractice. The defendants could hardily justify leaving the epidural in her body as well as explain how it took them so long to remove it; therefore, they ran to settle. The plaintiff received $1,900,000.
Case: Link vs. Dunn
Jurisdiction: Cook County
A woman in this case went back to the doctor a few weeks after having a baby because she was suffering from bleeding. Her doctors had her undergo a pelvic ultrasound to identify the reason for this abnormality. After reviewing the results of this procedure, her physician informed her that she retain placenta and needed to have dilation and a curettage operation in order to fix the problem.
It was later determined that she did not have retained placenta, that the operation was unnecessary, and that it left her unable to bear more children. She sued for this mistake as well as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. In response, the defendants denied she had sustained any injury at all and that even if so it was not to the extent that she claimed.
Unable to reach a compromise, the two sides went to court to settle their disagreement. The jury agreed with the plaintiff that the surgery was not necessary and the reason for her future inability to have kids. They awarded her the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: $231,123.79
- Pain and Suffering: $250,000
- Loss of Normal Life: $200,000
- Loss of Consortium: $50,000
- Total: $731,123.79
Case: Orsinger vs. Arlington Medical Associates
Jurisdiction: Cook County
This case involved a 59-year-old woman who underwent an arterial balloon angioplasty. Shortly after, she experienced a stroke, heart attack, and even the loss of a limb. Eventually, she even died from complications due to the angioplasty. Her representatives sued. They maintained that the surgery was incorrectly applied and executed.
The defendant doctor and hospital dismissed this notion and replied that a rare blood disorder killed the patient. Refusing compromise, the dispute eventually went to trial where the jury found for the decedent's estate. They claimed the surgery was negligently prescribed and carried out and awarded the plaintiff $1,443,719. Of that amount, $360,000 was for medical damages and $1,443,719 was for punitive damages.
Case: Lazerski vs. Our Lady Of The Resurrection Medical Center
Jurisdiction: Cook County
The patient in this trial went to the doctors after experience long-term pain. The doctors decided to implant a permanent pacemaker in his body. Following the surgery, he experienced extreme discomfort because of the device. He brought a lawsuit against the physician and hospital arguing that it was either unnecessary or negligently implanted.
His claim included significant damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, disfigurement, and others. Refusing to agree, the defendants preferred to go to trial. There, the jury found for the plaintiff for $804,127.92. Interestingly, even though the defendants might have successfully argued that the surgery was necessary, they could not justify his apparent suffering because of it. Here is the award breakdown:
- Medical Expenses: $79,127.92
- Pain and Suffering: $500,000
- Loss of Normal Life: $175,000
- Disfigurement: $50,000
- Total: $804,127.92
For additional information on Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital, look here.
Case: Blackburn-White vs. Kummerer
Jurisdiction: Cook County
The plaintiff here had significant back problems so he sought medical attention. He was referred to a spinal surgeon by his neurosurgeon and the former recommended fusion and screw treatments to his spine. During surgery, for unknown reasons, a clip was placed on his ureter (the passageway by which urine goes from the kidney to the bladder).
Eventually this clip damaged his ureter and led to the loss of his kidney. He brought suit against the doctor and the hospital for this surgical error. He sought significant damages ranging from medical bills to pain and suffering. At trial, the defendants justified the maneuver and said that the outcomes were inevitable or at least beyond their control. The jury disagreed and found them negligent for placing the clip on the ureter. They awarded the plaintiff $2,500,000:
- Pain and Suffering: $1,500,000
- Loss of Normal Life: $1,000,000
- Total: $2,500,000
Case: Burden vs. Feldstein
Jurisdiction: Cook County
This case involved a very common medical procedure: circumcision. The doctors performing the operation accidentally removed half the head of the penis. The child suffered significant scarring, urinary discomfort, and other injuries. Additionally, these all presented serious long-term medical issues.
The parents of the child sued the doctors for their obvious mistake although they responded that his penis was still functional. The case went to trial and surprisingly lasted over a week before the jury came back with a verdict for the plaintiff: $1,350,000.
Case: Paskal vs. University Of Chicago
Jurisdiction: Cook County
Recovery: $2,000,000 Settlement
A woman in her sixties went in for a minimally invasive lumber fusion and came out drastically different. Apparently, surgeons accidentally pinched her nerve root during the operation. This had the consequence of giving her two dropped feet as well as cauda equine syndrome (a neurological condition affecting body functions in the lumbar region of the spine).
Naturally, the patient sued for damages. In typical fashion, the defendants refuted both the basis and extent of her damages. They also added that the plaintiff had a stroke near the time of the treatment and this might have contributed to her injuries. However, fearing large losses at trial at the hands of a sympathetic jury, the defendants sought to settle and offered $2,000,000 to the women. She accepted.
How Much are Prescription Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
Case: Bohn vs. Indrajit Patel
The patient in this case went to the emergency room after experiencing back and stomach pain. The doctor in the ER prescribed the painkiller Duragesic. Several days later, the woman had to return again to the ER where she was diagnosed with hypoxia and hypoventilation. Later investigations revealed that the ER doctor prescribed four times the necessary amount of Duragesic.
At trial, the plaintiff pointed to this fact as evidence that he was negligent and breached the relevant standard of care. In response, the doctor claimed that he operated correctly in the circumstance even though he violated the suggested amount as dictated by medical texts. The jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her $349,000 in the following fashion:
- Medical Costs: $24,000
- Pain and suffering: $100,000
- Loss of Normal Life: $225,000
- Total: $249,000
Case: Estate Of Kulisek vs. Walgreens
Recovery: $31,351,107 Award
This mishap had a deadly ending. A Walgreens pharmacy employee filled a client's prescription with Gilpizide (meant for diabetes) rather than with the gout medication he was supposed to receive. The client died as a result of this accident, according to the plaintiffs. His estate sued and the defendants mounted a strong defense.
They argued that he died ten months after this incident and that the true cause of his death was end stage renal failure rather than their conduct. The jury was nonplussed by these points and they awarded the estate $31,351,107 ($25,000,000 for punitive damages and $6,351,107 for pain and suffering). Read more about pharmacy errors involving the wrong medication here.
Case: Thurston vs. Ninio
Recovery: $1,500,000 AWARD
Like many other kids, a teenager in this case went to the doctor with an eye infection. The physician prescribed a steroid ointment and the kid it over the course of two years. The doctor prescribed this medication knowing that it posed the risk of blindness to the patient and that is exactly what happened.
At the time of in the subsequent lawsuit, the teenager had already lost almost half of his vision in the affected eye and doctors said he would lose all of it within ten years. The jury returned a verdict against the doctor and pharmacy for $1,500,000.
Case: Ramirez vs. Vargas
Recovery: $313,706 Award
Here a patient was hospitalized after a drug overdose from a combination of morphine and Xanax. To treat the emergency, her doctor prescribed morphine sulfate and alprazolam. The cocktail of all these medications and drugs killed her. Her estate sued the doctor for malpractice. The lawsuit alleged that he was negligent by failing to properly ascertain a medical history of the decedent, communication with her other physicians about medications she had taken, and prescribing a lethal dose of morphine sulfate and alprazolam.
At trial, the doctor countered that the decedent was contributorily negligent by overdosing and by failing to follow doctors' orders. Also, he argued that those close to him should have gotten him to the hospital sooner and they were contributorily negligent in this respect. The jury actually bought this line of reasoning and awarded 50% of the fault to the decedent and those close to him. Thus, the award of $313,706 was cut in half.
Case: Doe vs. Magsaysay
Recovery: $2,400,000 Award
This incident started when a doctor gave a patient the wrong prescription. As a result, the latter began to experience pancreatitis and this required a blood transfusion. During the transfusion, the patient contracted HIV. He sued his doctor for malpractice because of the original prescription error and the jury awarded him $2,400,000 ($1,000,000 for loss of services and $1,400,000 for punitive damages).
Case: Guardiola vs. Basinger's Pharmacy
Recovery: $1,000,000 Settlement
In this case, a pharmacy gave a 52-year-old man the wrong prescription. This had the effect of worsening his seizure disorder as well as ruptured discs and spinal fractures. Also, the plaintiff claimed that the wrong medication trigger a seizure in him. He sued the company for damages related to his injuries. The defendant responded that the type and dosage of medication; however, these factual issues were never tested at trial because they settled for $1,000,000.
How Much are Hospital Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
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: $300,000
- Punitive: $500,000
- Medical: $42,350
- Total: $842,350
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.
How Much are Emergency Room Malpractice Cases Worth?
2015, Illinois: $6,900,000 Settlement
This incident began joyfully with the birth of a child in an Illinois emergency room. Doctors reviewed the conditions of the mother and infant and cleared them for discharge. What they failed to realize, however, was that the mother was suffering from preeclampsia, a condition found in women during late pregnancy that is characterized by high blood pressure.
After she returned home, the issue worsened, and she suffered seizures that led to brain damage and her subsequent death. Her estate sued the operators of the ER for negligence.
Their suit alleged that they failed to check her condition prior to discharging her, failed to check with her obstetrician, and failed to perform tests that might have stopped this from occurring. The defendants denied all liability, but fearing a sympathetic jury and defeat in court, they sought a settlement. The woman's family received $6,900,000.
2013, Illinois: $1,500,000 Jury Award
In this case, the doctors guessed wrong and it cost the patient her life. She went to the emergency room with back pain, a fever, and other related symptoms. The doctors diagnosed her with a viral infection, prescribed a course of treatment, and released her. She actually had a bacterial infection that progressed into toxic shock syndrome and caused her death not long after her ER visit.
Her estate sued for medical malpractice and wrongful death. The defendants argued that none of their actions caused any of her injuries, including her passing, but the jury disagreed. They found that the defendants' conduct was the proximate cause of her death and awarded her estate $1,500,000.
2013, Illinois: $2,439,544 Jury Award
After gastric bypass surgery, a 47-year-old man began to suffer from severe abdominal pain. He went to the emergency room to receive treatment, but the doctors could not find anything. Unfortunately, they missed the fact that he had a bowel obstruction, which is common in people who have recently had gastric bypass procedures.
The man died a day after being released from the hospital. His estate sued the ER and resident physicians for negligence. They responded that his symptoms were atypical of a bowel obstruction and that his CT scan failed to show the true nature of his injuries. The jury found that they were responsible for his death and awarded the plaintiff $2,439,544:
- Lost Wages: $1,226,616
- Lost Society: $1,093,577
- Pain and Suffering: $110,000
- Compensatory: $9,362
- Total: $2,439,544
How Much are Anesthesia Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
2004, Illinois: $1,000,000 Jury Award
A woman in her early forties was admitted to a hospital for surgery on her nose. Doctors and nurses prepared her for the procedure as they would any other patient, and that included the administration of anesthesia.
Unfortunately, they did not check to see whether or not she was allergic to the anesthetic, and she suffered an allergic reaction once it was administered. The incident left her with a substantial loss of vision. Naturally, she sued the providers for malpractice.
Her suit alleged that they were negligent in failing to check her allergies, administering the drug, and not monitoring her deteriorating condition. The defendants replied that this was an unforeseeable situation that they could not control. The jury did not buy this defense. They awarded the woman $1,000,000 for her injuries.
2014, Illinois: $10,500,000 Jury Award
In this incident, a child of just 12 years was sent into surgery for an operation on his femur. His representatives later contended that the procedure was unnecessary and that the doctors administering anesthesia did so improperly. As a result, he sustained a hypoxic brain injury that would require constant medical attention for the foreseeable future.
The defendants flatly rejected this argument. Instead of citing anesthesia failures, they countered that the child developed fat embolism syndrome and that was to blame for his injuries. Fat embolism syndrome is when fat molecules in the blood vessels interrupt the body's oxygenation process. However, the jury was more convinced by the plaintiff's version of events and awarded the 12-year-old $10,500,000 in compensatory, medical, and non-economic damages.
2009, Illinois: $2,200,000 Settlement
The patient in this case was prescribed a course of surgery because she was suffering from endometriosis. This is a condition affecting the lining of the uterus. There were two anesthesiologists present, and they were the ones responsible for the misconduct in question here.
While trying to put the woman under, they accidentally punctured her body and left her without oxygen for almost five minutes. This caused extraordinary brain damage that reduced her to a vegetative state for the rest of her life. Her representatives sued the doctors and hospital for medical malpractice. Since they were obviously at fault, the defendants sought to settle, and the plaintiffs consented for $2,200,000.
How Much are Psychiatry Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
2006; Illinois; $350,000 Jury Award:
The patient in this case saw two psychiatrists on an early spring day in 1999. The very next day she committed suicide. Years later, when her family learned of this visit, they brought suit against the doctors for negligence and medical malpractice. Their suit alleged that their improper care led to her death. Specifically, they failed to prescribe any anti-depression medication. The doctors responded that they only saw the woman once and that this was hardily enough to establish that their care or lack of care was the legal cause of her death. However, the jury disagreed and awarded the woman's estate $350,000 for pain and suffering and loss of support.
2005; Illinois; $500,000 Settlement:
This tragedy started when a young woman was admitted to a hospital for treatment. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and held for examination. A few days later, she was dead from suicide. Her family sued the treating psychiatrist and hospital for failing to monitor the decedent, notice common signs of depression, or prescribe any medication to abate her symptoms. The defendants denied any negligence and said that the woman herself was the negligent party because she refused medication and tried to escape. These factual issues were never tried at court, however, because they settled for $500,000.
How Much are Urology Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
2013, Illinois: $1,808,000 Jury Award (Recommending the Wrong Procedure):
A urologist provided a 73-year-old substandard care by not repeating a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test to confirm previous test results and instead recommended a TRUS (trans-rectal ultrasound-guided biopsy) procedure. However, the procedure can increase the potential risk of developing a life-threatening E. coli infection in the patient's bowel. The man with pre-existing conditions underwent the procedure and developed an E. coli (Escherichia coli) infection and died two months later after the infectious bacteria spread to his spine.
How Much are Pulmonary Embolism Medical Malpractice Cases Worth?
$4,035,000 Settlement; Illinois Pulmonary Embolism Case
The patient in this incident was a thirty-seven-year-old woman. She had a young child at the time who was just four years old. The lady had a procedure done at an Illinois hospital to treat a tibia fracture. After that concluded, staff did not give her blood thinner medication. Then, due to that oversight, she developed deep vein thrombosis. Eventually, the matter escalated to the point where she had a pulmonary embolism. However, staff failed to identify the issue. This delay in diagnosis cost her dearly. She passed away from the pulmonary embolism leaving her daughter motherless. This claim was brought against the hospital and doctor for wrongful death. Eventually, the parties were able to reach a settlement. The plaintiffs received a combined amount of $4,035,000 from the defendants.
Speak With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Dealing with medical malpractice might seem unbearable. The pain, frustration, and costs may start to overwhelm you. They do not have to though. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers works with victims of medical malpractice in Illinois. Our team brings claims on their behalf so that the people who cause pain compensate patients for the harms they cause. We don't charge clients anything unless we win. Hear about how we can start helping you today. Contact our office to set up a free, no-hassle consultation.