Category Archives: Medical Malpractice

Family of Truck Driver Awarded One Million Dollars Against City of Chicago

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, a federal jury in Chicago awarded the family of a deceased truck driver $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.  In April, 2008, Donald Wells careened off of the Dan Ryan Expressway and crashed into a crowded escalator at a CTA station in Chinatown.  The accident killed two people and injured 21 others.  Wells was taken to Stroger Hospital and then the police station. Attorneys and family members claimed that Wells appeared disoriented and acted abnormally.  Wells died in custody.  His attorneys claimed that he suffered organ damage and other fatal complications because he was not properly treated.  The estate's lawyers maintained that the jail keepers were negligent in detaining him for too long.  Litigating this case presented significant hurdles to the estate's lawyers in light of Well's earlier actions.

Family Sues Over Asthmatic Boy Being Transferred to 3 Hospitals

The Pointer family was looking for answers over the death of their asthmatic son, who died after being transferred to three different hospitals in an 11 hour period.  On the morning of September 13, 2010, seven year old Aaron Pointer suffered from an asthmatic attack.  In a tragic set of circumstances, the boy was shuttled to three facilities because the first two could allegedly not meet his needs.  By the time that Aaron was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, his brain was "starved for oxygen."  The boy later died.  The family filed suit alleging that the three hospitals and various doctors were negligent in the care of their son.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds $29 Million Jury Verdict

On Thursday, September 1, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2010 jury verdict awarding a family $29.1 million in a medical malpractice case.  Christian Arroyo was born in 2003 with a common neonatal blood infection, which was left untreated for 12 hours.  Consequently, the child suffered irreversible brain damage. The boy, now 8, is a second grader who is a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.  The government appealed the verdict against the government-employed doctors, claiming that the suit was untimely filed.  The appeals court rejected the argument.

Study Says Only One in Five Medical Malpractice Cases Pay

A new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine reports that only one in five medical malpractice cases results in a payout.  The authors noted an earlier study which found that only a fraction of those patients who were victimized by medical negligence actually file a claim.  While a frequent refrain of the Republican party is that medical malpractice cases drive up insurance rates, this study seems to undercut that position.  In addition to few payouts (recent statistics in Cook County show that juries are entering verdicts for malpractive victims less than 25% of the time), there are significant barriers for a plaintiff to bring a claim to court in the first place.  Illinois law requires that a plaintiff obtain a medical report from a physician certifying that the claim is viable.  Obtaining reports from experts can cost thousands of dollars.  The study analyzed data from about 41,000 physicians who bought medical malpractice insurance coverage from a particular insurer between 1991 and 2005.  Among key findings in the study were: about 7.5% of doctors have a malpractice claim filed against them annually, fewer than 2% of doctors were the subject of a successful malpractice claim, and certain practice areas, such as neurosurgeons and heart surgeons were sued more often.  While pediatricians were sued less frequently, the amount of the award was $520,000 much larger than the average malpractice claim.