Cook County Court Approves $4.35 Million Settlement In Medical Malpractice Action

Posted By Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. || 12-Nov-2012

A Judge in the Cook County Law Division has entered an order approving the settlement of a wrongful death action arising from the death of the 30 year old mother of 4.

Larry Rogers, Jr., a Partner at Power, Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., was able to obtain a settlement for his client for $4.35 Million. It consists $3,000,000 from Defendants, Resurrection Health Care and St. Mary of Nazareth; $1,000,000 Million on behalf of Defendant, Dr Sadagopan; and $350,000 on behalf of Defendant, Dr. Hong Chan An.

This matter concerns an occurrence in which Mr. Rogers’ client died as a result of medical malpractice associated with a brain bleed that went undiagnosed and untreated at Resurrection Health Care.

Mr. Rogers’ client, Ms. J, was admitted to the hospital under the care and treatment of her family practice physician who was scheduled to deliver her full term fetus. During her labor, it was determined that she would need to deliver by C-section, therefore, a doctor specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology was consulted. Because the delivery was going to be accomplished by C-section, Ms. J received an epidural. Anesthesiologist, Dr. An testified that in an attempt to administer epidural anesthesia, he made several attempts to introduce the 17 gauge needle into the epidural space but was unable to do so.

Ms. J was hospitalized for the next few days under the care of various doctors and nurses at Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital. On her day of discharge she had she suffered headaches. She was eventually discharged without a work-up of her headaches.

Two days later Ms. J spoke with her doctor regarding her severe headache and was told to re-present to the hospital if the medications were not resolving her headaches. At about 5:30 p.m. that same day she re-presented to Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital reporting that she had been suffering a headache for days. The hospital triage note describes the headache as “Unbearable 9-10″ out of 10. The differential diagnosis reads “DDX: SubArachnoid Hemorrhage…” as the first likely condition. Despite this differential diagnosis, the Emergency Room physician and anesthesiology consultant failed to diagnose or rule out a subarachnoid hemorrhage or intracranial bleed by ordering a CT scan of the brain. As the evening progressed, Ms. J’s pain became even worse. Ms. J was unable to stay in one position, and nursing notes describe her as screaming loudly due to the severe headache.

Despite Ms. J’s complaints of a headache for hours in the hospital, no CT scan was performed until after 1 a.m., when she was comatose. Eventually a CT scan was completed at approximately 3:15 a.m. showing an intracranial brain bleed. The CT scan demonstrated an intracranial brain bleed which, at autopsy, was determined to likely be from an aneurysm rupture. Ms. J died the following day.

Plaintiff’s case alleged that Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital, by and through its physicians and nurses, failed to examine, work up, and treat Ms. J’s complaints of headache. As a result, they failed to diagnose the sentinel bleed when the headaches originated, allowing it to become a severe intracranial hemorrhage. Had the complaints of the headaches been reported to the physicians and worked up early on, Ms. J would not have been discharged, and she would have been diagnosed and treated for the sentinel bleed before she suffered a massive aneurysm rupture.

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