Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Illinois Supreme Court
Wilson v. Edward Hosp.
The plaintiff was injured in a 2003 automobile accident. He was admitted to Edward Hospital and, allegedly, was operated on without a sufficient period of fasting. During surgery he vomited and aspirated vomit into his lungs, causing cardiac arrest and an anoxic brain injury. The circuit court entered partial summary judgment that two defendant doctors were not actual agents of the hospital, but also held that there was a question of fact (precluding summary judgment) as to whether those doctors were the hospital’s apparent agents. The hospital sought dismissal on grounds of res judicata. The Illinois Supreme Court answered the circuit court’s certified question by holding that plaintiff’s claim against the hospital could go forward. The supreme court said there was only one cause of action for negligence and the ruling that there was no actual agency did not entirely dispose of the claim. There is no res judicata barrier to attempting to show that defendant hospital is liable on the basis of apparent agency. View "Wilson v. Edward Hosp." on Justia Law
Rodriquez v. Dep’t of Fin. & Prof’l Regulation
In 2003, the doctor was charged by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation with violating the Illinois Medical Practice Act in connection with electro-convulsive shock treatment of a patient. Administrative proceedings were stayed while the doctor pursued, among other things, a claim that a provision of the Department’s rules concerning evidentiary hearsay was invalid. The circuit court invalidated the rule in 2005, but later vacated its judgment. The appellate court reinstated the invalidation ruling in 2007, and the Department closed the case without prejudice in 2008. The doctor then filed a petition for a statutory award of his litigation expenses. The circuit court refused to award the fees, but the appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and reinstated the denial, stating that the statutory fees that are available for invalidating an administrative rule must be sought while there is still jurisdiction over the matter. The doctor waited 33 months after the original circuit court order invalidating the rule and more than one year after the appellate court reinstated that order. The courts no longer maintained jurisdiction to hear his fee petition. View "Rodriquez v. Dep't of Fin. & Prof'l Regulation" on Justia Law
Studt v. Sherman Health Systems
In a medical malpractice case, alleging failure to diagnose apendicitis, the court gave Civil Jury Instruction 105.01 (2006), which refers to a "reasonably careful," as opposed to a "reasonably well-qualified" (the 2005 instruction) professional. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs and the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the jury instruction does not accurately state the law, but affirmed. The 2006 instruction eliminated the distinction between institutional negligence, which can be proven without expert testimony, and professional negligence, which requires expert testimony. The hospital was not prejudiced by the instruction because expert testimony was presented in connection with a vicarious liability claim. The court rejected the hospital's argument that the instruction was confusing and allowed jurors to consider personal knowledge in determining what is reasonable. View "Studt v. Sherman Health Systems" on Justia Law
Clark v. Children’s Mem’l Hosp.
The plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful-birth and negligent infliction of emotional distress, based on medical-provider defendants' failure to inform them that their older child had a genetic mutation. They claim that they would not have conceived a second child if they had been given correct information. The trial court held that damages available in a wrongful-birth action do not include the extraordinary costs of caring for a disabled child after he reaches the age of majority. The appellate court held that plaintiff parents in a wrongful-birth case may recover damages for the cost of caring for their dependent,disabled, adult child and that the plaintiffs had adequately pleaded a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Illinois Supreme Court remanded, noting a question of fact concerning when the limitations period began to run. The court affirmed the holding that the plaintiffs have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress; the "zone of danger" test does not apply when damages for emotional distress are an element of another tort. The court reversed and reinstated the judgment that plaintiffs may not recover damages for the postmajority expenses of caring for their son; damages incurred after the age of majority are incurred by the child, who suffered no legal harm.