A $2.1 Million settlement was reached against the hospital and doctors in an Illinois medical negligence lawsuit involving the wrongful death of a woman from brain herniation after being discharged from a hospital. She was discharged with complaints of headaches despite a diagnosis of a brain tumor.
Mary, a 50 year-old female, was diagnosed at South Suburban Hospital with a right frontal lobe meningioma in early September, 2003, at which time she was discharged from the hospital with a referral to a University of Chicago neurosurgeon. However, before seeing the neurosurgeon she presented back to South Suburban Hospital two days later complaining of headaches and vomiting.
She is given some pain medication and sent home. Early the next morning she is found unresponsive by her husband. She was taken by ambulance back to South Suburban, but died later that day. An autopsy revealed that the cause of the Illinois woman’s wrongful death was excessive fluid building up around her tumor causing her brain to shift to the left and down through the brain stem, putting extreme pressure on her brain, resulting in brain herniation.
The defendants were the neurologist who first diagnosed our client, the emergency department physician who discharged the decedent knowing of her prior diagnosis and hospitalization and the hospital. At the top of the chain of events was the neurology diagnosis of meningionoma, a benign condition, where a mass forms on the lining of the brain.
Significantly, the tumor was not in the brain, but on the brain’s lining. The surgical procedure to remove the tumor is relatively safe. The neurosurgeon who testified as an expert for plaintiff at deposition, stated that the surgery would allow the patient to reach maximum recovery. The tumor is very slow growing, so it was probably present for years.
Mary’s early symptoms were dismissed as a sinus condition. Not until she reported nausea, severe headache and incontinence, did her family doctor admit her to the hospital for a thorough examination, which by MRI revealed the tumor. But the errors and Illinois medical negligence began from that point forward.
The family wanted to have the surgery done at the University of Chicago Medical Center, rather than at South Suburban, where there was only one part-time neurosurgeon available. The defendant neurologist was vague on how quickly the tumor needed to be removed. But worse yet, when Mary returned to the hospital’s ER only two days after her discharge with the worst headache of her life, reports of incontinence and left-side weakness, she was sent away with pain medicine, no follow up tests, even though the hospital knew of her tumor.
The defendant ER doctor called Dr. Bhasin the neurologist, who ordered Mary discharged and was instructed or reminded to keep her upcoming appointment at the University of Chicago Hospital. By then her tumor had caused such swelling in her brain, that it began to be displaced. This swelling caused her untimely death later that same night.
Our client is survived by her husband, four children, and grandchildren.
Robert Kreisman and Kreisman Law Offices handle Illinois medical negligence claims for individuals in Cook County, including Chicago, La Grange, Tinley Park, and Rosemont.
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