The plaintiff in this case sought medical attention for a herniated disc. Herniated discs are an incredibly common and complicated injury especially following a workplace or vehicle accident. The doctor’s treatment though apparently aggravated the situation.
Filed: July 15, 2016
Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois, Cook County
Category: Medical Malpractice; Preexisting Injury
Plaintiff: Megan Olson
Defendant(s): Advanced Pain & Anesthesia Consultants PC (APAC); Thomas Pang
The issue in this began is distant from the underlying events of the actual lawsuit. The plaintiff, Megan Olson, started seeing Dr. Thomas Pang of APAC for issues related to preexisting injuries. Specifically, she had persistent pain and weaknesses in her lower body from a past herniated disc as well as spinal stenosis. To rectify these problems, Pang provided anesthesia care to Olson at APAC over the course of many months. Unfortunately, rather than solve the problem, it actually made it worse. Olson claimed that the incompetence and medical malpractice of Pang and APAC contributed to her bilateral paraplegia as well as incontinence within the bladder and bowels, among other complications. To recover for these significant injuries and costs, she brought suit against both of them for medical malpractice.
Claims and Damages:
Olson sued Pang and APAC on a theory of medical malpractice. Here are some of the critical elements to his argument:
- They did not identify that the plaintiff’s circumstances made her more vulnerable to paralysis;
- They did not identify that the plaintiff’s circumstances made her more vulnerable to bowel/bladder incontinence;
- They did not properly monitor her stenosis and herniation when she was vulnerable to cauda equina syndrome;
- They did not refer the plaintiff to neurological staff after failing to relieve her condition;
- They did not provide the care that the plaintiff was entitled to expect.
Some of Olson’s complications and injuries were already mentioned above, but here were the damages that she complained of in her suit:
- Past and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- 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
- The hard factual and legal question of this case will be to draw a line at the preexisting injury (herniated disc) and everything that came after it. The defendant doctor will point to the past while the plaintiff must focus on the doctor’s actions and how that made the situation worse.
- While cases with preexisting injuries generally fare worse in terms of success and recovery rates than other cases, this suit also involves a very significant injury (paraplegia) so that may balance the prospects out in the plaintiff’s favor.
- The gist of the plaintiff’s complaint looks at the care that the doctor did but this also does not seem to be far outside the traditional standard of care so she must make an effort to illustrate the egregiousness of his conduct.