A settlement was recently approved on behalf of the estate of a 50 year-old man
who died from complications of
medical malpractice. The decedent suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory condition
of the spine. After falling at work and complaining of severe back pain,
he was transported to a suburban Chicago hospital. A series of x-rays
were performed and interpreted as normal.
The decedent remained hospitalized for several days, with continued complaints
of back pain. Pain
medication and physical therapy were unsuccessful at relieving his symptoms.
He was eventually transferred to a second hospital, where additional x-rays
revealed an unstable fracture in his lower
spine. While awaiting transfer another hospital for spine surgery, the decedent
lost sensation and the ability to move his legs. Despite the eventual
spinal surgery, the decedent suffered a permanent loss of strength and
sensation in his lower extremities. Approximately two years later, he
died of complications relating to his disability. The decedent was survived
by two adult brothers.
Thomas G. Siracusa, of the Chicago personal injury law firm of Power Rogers & Smith,
P.C. filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued a radiologist
at the first hospital alleging a misinterpretation of the x-ray findings.
Plaintiff presented evidence that the x-rays of decedent’s lower
spine revealed an abnormality, which required further investigation. The
delayed diagnosis of the spinal fracture contributed to decedent’s
Plaintiff also sued the second hospital, alleging that its nurses failed
to follow physician’s orders and institute a proper immobilization
protocol after the spinal fractured was diagnosed. Plaintiff presented
testimony that patient movement contributed to the instability of the
unstable spinal fracture and resulted in a poor neurologic outcome.
The recent settlement was approved by the Circuit Court of Cook County
Law and Probate Divisions.