Joseph A. Power, Jr. and Joseph W. Balesteri Obtain $7,250,000 Verdict in Cook County Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Posted By Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. || Jul 16, 2013

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Joseph A. Power, Jr. and Joseph W. Balesteri, partners at Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., obtained a $7,250,000 verdict for Plaintiff’s decedent. Plaintiff’s decedent was diagnosed with breast cancer; during a biopsy of her breast she experienced a pulmonary embolus according to plaintiff and an anaphylaxis attack according to the defense. During the hospitalization she was placed on Heparin prophylaxis which was later discontinued for a suspected adverse reaction (HIT). She experienced a fatal pulmonary embolus two days later.

Following a two-week trial in front of the Honorable Thomas L. Hogan, Law Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, the jury returned a verdict in 2.5 hours in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of $7,250,0000. (Loss of future financial support $4,300,000, loss of past financial support $700,000, loss of society $2,000,000, pain and suffering $250,000)

On October 11, 2006 Plaintiff, female age 33, underwent a right breast biopsy for breast cancer at The University of Chicago Medical Center. During the biopsy she experienced cardiovascular collapse, Plaintiff alleged due to intra-operative pulmonary embolism. All University of Chicago physicians, intra-operatively and post-operatively, believed anaphylaxis caused cardiovascular collapse intra-operatively. Four days later, on October 16, 2006, Plaintiff experienced a saddle pulmonary embolism shortly before midnight and passed away.

Plaintiff alleged that the anesthesia team negligently failed to record, at regular intervals, the Plaintiff’s vital signs and end tidal CO2s, resulting in misdiagnosis of intraoperative pulmonary embolism and further that the intensive care unit physicians failed to provide therapeutic anticoagulation and/or to rule out deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in a timely fashion. Ultimately, on October 13, 2006, intensive care unit physician, Dr. Brian Gehlbach stopped prophylactic Heparin due to a concern that Plaintiff was experiencing heparin induced thrombocytopenia. The assay for HIT returned after her death as negative. No alternative anticoagulation was initiated. She was a school teacher who is survived by her husband and their minor daughter.

Plaintiff had previously demanded $6,000,000 to settle this lawsuit. The highest offer by Defendant, University of Chicago Medical Center, had been $2,000,000.


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