Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that Chicago taxpayers are facing several very expensive medical malpractice lawsuits, which are expected to settle in a total of $24 million. All three lawsuits involve medical errors that happened at Stroger Hospital.
The first and most significant lawsuit was filed by Justine Francique, whose son suffered severe and debilitating brain damage at Stroger in 2011. As an infant, Francique’s son underwent surgery to fix an undescended testicle. In recovery, the infant suffered a cardiac arrest, and his heart stopped beating for a full five minutes until medical personnel initiated resuscitation. He was revived, although his pulse was not detected for at least another 15 minutes.
Brain damage can occur when the brain is left without oxygen for even a few seconds. This child’s brain was deprived of oxygen for several minutes, and as a result, will suffer from permanent brain injury for the rest of his life.
Francique is seeking $20 million, to be put in a trust for her son that will enable him to receive adequate care for the remainder of his life. This settlement is just a proposal, and is subject to a vote by the Cook County Board. If the settlement is approved, the $20 million will come from Stroger’s self-insurance fund, paid for by Cook County taxpayers.
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The second lawsuit against Stroger was filed by the estate of Wendy Cash, a woman who allegedly died as the result of medical negligence at the hospital. Cash was undergoing cancer treatment at Stroger in 2008 when she developed an infection. Medical personnel did not adequately treat the infection, and it spread throughout her body, requiring multiple amputations. The woman died two years after being admitted to the hospital and her estate is seeking $2.4 million.
The estate of Albert Allen filed the third lawsuit, which is expected to settle for $1 million. Allen was an inmate at the county jail in the summer of 2006 when he developed an infection from an external fixator attached to his arm. An external fixator is a device used to stabilize bone and soft tissue after an operation or injury. The device screws into the bone, comes through the skin, and is secured outside the skin with clamps and rods. Complications from this device are very common, and can be catastrophic if it is not properly maintained.
Allen’s external fixator became infected during his stay at the county jail, and he was initially treated by Cermak Health Services, which is a part of Cook County’s Health and Hospital System. After Cermak’s efforts failed, Allen was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he also allegedly failed to receive adequate care. Allen ultimately developed sepsis, a deadly condition caused by untreated infections, and died.
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The head of Cook County’s Public Health System, Dr. Ramanathan Raju, stated that he has recently implemented more thorough risk-management systems in the wake of these and other lawsuits. The more rigorous systems are intended to avoid medical errors, such as those evidenced by two additional medical malpractice lawsuits against Stroger, one of which resulted in a patient death.
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin argued that each of these cases involves individual errors, and are not indicative of systematic negligence. The mounting lawsuits against Stroger hospital do reveal, however, that the Cook County Health and Hospital System is in dire need of protocol changes and safety updates beyond more rigorous risk-management systems.
Medical negligence lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm hope that these lawsuits enact significant change in Chicago area public hospitals. If you or someone you love was the victim of substandard care in a medical setting, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to compensation for your losses and suffering.