Illinois Medical Malpractice Verdict Stands On Appeal For Doctor’s Failure to Diagnose

An recent Illinois medical malpractice jury verdict was affirmed by the Illinois Fifth District Appellate in favor of an injured plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The appellate court’s decision effectively denied a physician’s claims that the plaintiff had failed to effectively prove the defendant had breached the standard of care. Cummings v. Jha, M.D., et al., No. 5-0-0182.

The plaintiff’s, Kevin Cummings, original Illinois medical malpractice claim for a failure to diagnose and treat a bile leak following surgery was against two physicians; however, the physician who performed the actual surgery settled out of court. Therefore the jury verdict was only against one of the physicians, a doctor who had been standing in for the defendant surgeon while he was out of town.

The stand-in physician appealed the $210,000 jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, claiming that he was entitled to a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and contending that the plaintiff failed to show he breached the standard of care or that the alleged breach was a proximate cause of Cummings’ injury. However, the Illinois Appellate Court rejected those arguments and affirmed the lower court’s medical malpractice verdict.

The court said that the evidence showed that the second doctor breached the standard of care when he failed to fully investigate and inquire about Cummings’ history and didn’t obtain sufficient information to make an appropriate clinical diagnosis. One of the experts for plaintiff also testified that the history of plaintiff’s gallbladder surgery should have prompted a reasonably competent physician to investigate Cummings for a surgical complication.

The appellate court lays out the facts of this Illinois medical malpractice case in their decision. The plaintiff, Kevin Cummings, underwent a laparoscopic surgery for the removal of his gallbladder in August 1999. Two days after the surgery he began to experience pain that resembled the pain he’d been feeling before the surgery. When the plaintiff returned to his surgeon for a scheduled follow up he complained about this pain, at which point the surgeon prescribed him medication to treat an esophageal spasm.

However, despite the medication, the plaintiff’s pain continued. The surgeon was leaving town so he referred the plaintiff to another physician. The plaintiff presented to the second physician, who diagnosed the plaintiff with viral pericarditis and prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Shortly thereafter plaintiff was traveling and began to experience severe pain that prompted his admittance to a hospital. While in the hospital he was diagnosed with a bile leak, something that both his original surgeon and the replacement physician had failed to diagnose. On September 14, 1999 the plaintiff underwent an additional surgery to repair the bile leak. His Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit was brought against both the surgeon and second physician for a failure to diagnose the bile leak.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits for over 30 years, serving areas in and around Cook County, including Chicago Ridge, Evanston, Oak Park, and Lisle.

Similar blog posts:

Gastric Bypass Surgery Complications Lead to Death of Illinois Woman: Family Receives Cook County Settlement

Cook County Medical Malpractice Case Results in $5 Million Award to Woman Who Received Unnecessary Hysterectomy

Chicago Wrongful Death Case Involving Failure to Diagnose Meningitis of Thirteen Year-Old Girl Awarded $3.75 Million By Federal Judge