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Valuation of Surgical Error Malpractice Cases in Illinois

Maybe not the most common, but definitely some of the most serious cases of Illinois medical malpractice involve surgical errors. Here are some of those cases played out in litigation:

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
Recovery: $731,123.79

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:
  • Pain and Suffering:
  • Loss of Normal Life:
  • Loss of Consortium:
  • Total:
  • $231,123.79
  • $250,000
  • $200,000
  • $50,000
  • $731,123.79

Case: Orsinger vs. Arlington Medical Associates
Jurisdiction: Cook County
Recovery: $1,443,719

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
Recovery: $804,127.92

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:
  • Pain and Suffering:
  • Loss of Normal Life:
  • Disfigurement:
  • Total:
  • $79,127.92
  • $500,000
  • $175,000
  • $50,000
  • $804,127.92
For additional information on Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital, look here.

Case: Blackburn-White vs. Kummerer
Jurisdiction: Cook County
Recovery: $2,500,000

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:
  • Loss of Normal Life:
  • Total:
  • $1,500,000
  • $1,000,000
  • $2,500,000

Case: Burden vs. Feldstein
Jurisdiction: Cook County
Recovery: $1,350,000

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.

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