Recently in Wrongful Death Category

April 15, 2014

Neonatal Encephalopathy and Neurologic Outcomes - Revised Criterea from ACOG



In 2003 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG), along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, published Neonatal Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy: Defining the Pathogenesis and Pathophysiology ("NEACP"). This monograph became more commonly known as "the Green Book" and it has been roundly criticized as an attempt by its authors to use "junk science" to create hard an fast "essential" criteria to diffuse obstetrical malpractice claims against Ob/Gyns. In the more than 10 years since its publications its authors have backed off the allegedly essential nature of its core criteria and physicians have been forced to admit that factors like cord blood ph levels above 7.0 can still occur in births where the fetus experiences perinatal asphyxia that is the result of negligence.

Recently, ACOG published an update to the Green Book titled Neonatal Encephalopathy and Neurologic Outcome, Second Edition. This update changes some of the so-called "essential" criteria that expert witnesses have relied upon to defend causation in birth injury cases.

The update defines Neonatal Encephalopathy as a clinically defined syndrome of disturbed neurologic function in the earliest days of life in an infant born at or beyond 35 weeks of gestation, accompanied by early onset seizures and difficulty initiating and maintaining respiration and depression of fetal tone and reflexes. The update relaxes the criteria which obstetricians and pediatricians feel demonstrate the likelihood of peripartum or intrapartum ischemia playing a role in the pathogenesis of neonatal encephalopathy.

Specifically, the monograph identifies four essential signs and their revised values and includes, Apgar scores of less than 5 at five and ten minutes, cord blood gas pH levels of less than 7.2 (and/or a base deficit greater to or equal to 12 mmol/L), evidence of brain injury shown on MRI at a time early in the childs life (before 21 days of life) and the presence of multisystem organ failure consistent with HIE.

These revised numbers reflect the growing understanding that pH levels above 7.0 can still reflect fetal injury caused by perinatal asphyxia. This is something that we have known and understood for quite some time. It is interesting that the authors of this update have taken a more intellectually honest approach at defining the criteria they use to define asphyxia related neonatal encehalopathy and have become more inclusive in their definitions. As attorneys who routinely face defenses of birth injury cases that are based entirely on Green Book factors, these definitions, while not exactly a breath of fresh air, are a step in the right direction.

February 6, 2013

Goldberg & Goldberg Files Wrongful Death Case On Behalf Of 91 Year Old With Alzheimer's Disease Who Froze To Death Outside Retirement Home



On February 6, 2013, the Chicago law firm of Goldberg & Goldberg filed a wrongful death case on behalf of the Estate of Genevieve Klimczak who died on February 12, 2012. Ms. Klimczak was a resident of McHenry Villa, a self described "retirement community" offering 24 hour a day security..."so residents can leave the worries of living alone behind them." McHenry Villa and Home Instead, Inc. have been named as defendants in the lawsuit. McHenry Villa is located at 3516 W. Waukegan Road in McHenry, Illinois.

On February 12, 2012, Genevieve Klimczak a 91 year old resident of McHenry Villa with Alzheimer's disease was allowed to elope from her room at McHenry Villa and walk out of the building through a self-locking door that could not be opened from the outside. Ms. Klimczak's body was found the next morning by employees of McHenry Villa. The temperature overnight was as low as 7 degrees Fahrenheit. At the time, Ms Klimczak was being attended by caregivers from Home Instead, Inc. Ms. Klimczak is survived by her nephews, Donald Lorenz and John Lorenz, and her niece, Evelyn Marthalar.. Mrs. Klimczak was a lifelong resident of Chicago.

May 1, 2012

Neurological Injuries Related To Humira Use



Abbott Laboratories best selling drug, Humira, has been linked to a host of serious side effects, including severe neurological injuries. Abbott's is on track to sell $15 billion worth of the drug per year by 2015. Abbott already expects to sell close to $10 billion worth of Humira in 2012. Humira is used to treat a variety of rheumatological conditions, including, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis as well as Crohn's disease.

In 2009, Abbott included the following warning in the package insert for Humira under section 5.5 titled, Neurologic Reactions:

"Use of TNF blocking agents, including HUMIRA, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of demyelinating disease. Prescribers should exercise caution in considering the use of HUMIRA in patients with preexisting or recent-onset central nervous system demyelinating disorders."

If you, or a loved one has been injured by Humira, please do not hesitate to call us at 800-368-0255.

February 24, 2011

Tort Reform And The Imagined Health Care Crisis



This blog entry comes courtesy of the President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and was published in the February 24, 2011 edition of the Belleville News Democrat:

It is once again time to set the record straight with your editorial board. There was never a health care crisis in this state and there were no "jackpot justice conditions" that caused doctors to flee Illinois.

Your editorial board and the president of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) have chosen to ignore important facts when it comes to medical care access in this state. Over the years, we have consistently increased the number of physicians in our state. That's right. The American Medical Association data reflects increases for each of the last 45 years. Clearly not a climate of doctors leaving Illinois or retiring early.

Funny how it used to be, for years, ISMS would falsely claim doctors were fleeing our state and that we already had a shortage of doctors because of fabricated "jackpot justice conditions." As the data has failed to support that claim, the dialogue now shifts to an attempt to create a "future crisis". In fact, a recent survey - funded in part by ISMS - clearly demonstrated oversaturation of physicians in the largest populated area of our state. That's correct - more than enough doctors in the greater Chicagoland area.

Dr. Steven Malkin, the president of ISMS, recently tried to tie a potential doctor shortage in Hillsboro, Illinois to lawsuits. He suggested lawsuits were preventing doctors from setting up practice in the Hillsboro area. What are the facts? In 2010 there was only 1 case of physician negligence filed in Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois, and that's about the number each year over the last nine years according to the Court Clerk's office. Hardly, a "toxic" malpractice lawsuit environment. Additionally, the number of medical negligence cases filed in Illinois, overall, has steadily declined over the last seven years. Filings are down almost 40% since 2003.

We do agree that a portion of the 2005 law, which was struck down last year, needs to be reinstated. The insurance reforms contained in the law forced malpractice insurance companies to provide greater transparency on rate-setting and payouts, that spurred competition and motivated more companies to enter the marketplace. These measures resulted in a reduction of malpractice premiums for doctors.

Health care in Illinois doesn't improve by taking away the constitutional rights of those injured by medical negligence. It improves by providing better care, and holding those who are careless and their insurance companies accountable. True reform of the insurance industry and a reduction in medical errors is the only way to ensure a thriving healthcare system that works for every citizen of this state.

January 27, 2011

How Walking 10,000 Steps Each Day Enhanced my Insulin Sensitivity in a Couple of Months



The following blog entry comes courtesy of a guest blogger, Stacy H. Federico, who has a blog devoted to raising awareness of Type II Diabetes and the benefits of healthy eating. We would like to thank her for her contribution to our blog.

Taking 10,000 steps every day (or walking about five miles) is incredibly useful to you.

I started walking 30 days ago. I wake up every day at 5:30 and walk about 5 mls (with my dog).

I had been so happy with myself. Recently a buddy told me, "What are you currently doing for exercise today?" I informed her about the walking, and she said, "Yeah, but what exactly are you doing for exercise?"

She declared that walking does not get the heart rate up sufficiently and won't do one thing to enhance my overall health or my waist line and that if I needed to lose any weight, I needed a true workout.

Well , I informed her the 10,000 steps philosophy isn't new...the good news is the 10,000 steps regimen has additionally been linked with an increase in insulin sensitivity in over 50 adults.

In a 5 years Australian analysis of nearly 600 men and women averaging fifty years age, walking a lot more steps was linked to reductions in BMI (Body Mass Index), waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity.

The analysis, authored by professionals from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, was released inside the British Medical Journal (BMJ). (Available here: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7249.full.pdf?sid=fc7e7b28-17b4-4173-894c-b3e493b71805)

The authors determined that the sedentary person who modified behavior over 5 years to satisfy the 10,000 daily step criteria could have a threefold improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to someone that worked up to 3,000 steps 5 days weekly.

In line with the experts, the connection of step activity with improved insulin sensitivity was principally accounted for by lower bmi.

So you? Are you still reading this report? Move out and walk!

1. Get yourself a pedometer.
2. In case you have a desk job, stand up and walk every hour.
3. Park farther away from entrances.
4. Put down the telephone, eliminate that e-mail, and walk.
5. Walk or jog in place during your preferred tv show.
6. Consider the stairs.
7. Pacing....
8. Go ahead and take puppy for a walk.
9. Hit the shopping center.

Who am I ?: Stacy H. Federico is posting for the diabetic snacks on the go website, her personal hobby blog devoted to tricks to help website visitors to stop Type 2 diabetes and help the awareness on healthy eating.

August 24, 2010

Medicare Liens and Medical Malpractice Litigation



The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) overhauled Medicare's perspective on payment for medical care related to "never events" including a list of delineated hospital acquired conditions. Hospitals will no longer receive reimbursement for conditions that are (a) high cost or high volume or both, (b) result in the assignment of a case to a DRG that has a higher payment when present as a secondary diagnosis, and (c) could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines. The ten categories for hospital acquired conditions are: Foreign Object Retained After Surgery,.Air Embolism,,Blood Incompatibility, Stage III and IV Pressure Ulcers, Falls and Trauma including, Fractures, Dislocations, Intracranial Injuries, Crushing Injuries, Burns and Electric Shock, Manifestations of Poor Glycemic Control including, Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Nonketotic Hyperosmolar Coma, Hypoglycemic Coma, Secondary Diabetes with Ketoacidosis and Secondary Diabetes with Hyperosmolarity, Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection, Vascular Catheter-Associated Infection, Surgical Site Infection Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) - Mediastinitis, Bariatric Surgery, Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Gastroenterostomy, Laparoscopic Gastric Restrictive Surgery, Orthopedic Procedures and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have prohibited hospitals from recovering payment for the treatment of secondary conditions acquired in the hospital, practically, these charges are often submitted and paid by Medicare long before and attorney becomes involved and makes a claim for medical malpractice. Careful examination of the supporting documentation Medicare provides at the time they require reimbursement often reveals that benefits were paid for hospital acquired events.

We pay close attention to each and every aspect of our clients cases and work very hard to insure that they receive the maximum recovery. This includes the work we do to check and negotiate all of our clients liens, including Medicare liens.

July 12, 2010

Goldberg & Goldberg Secures A $1,625,000.00 Settlement In Wrongful Death Case



Goldberg & Goldberg is pleased to announce that they have settled a wrongful death case involving the death of a newborn child for $1,625,000.00. The case, Vega v. St. James Hospital, et al, involved the negligent diagnosis and management of fetal distress of mother and child during labor and delivery at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 2002. The baby survived a little over one hour before he ultimately died due to complications surrounding his resuccitation.

The defendants claimed that the child suffered from a microscopic pathologic defect which prevented him from being able to adequately perfuse oxygen in utero. The child is survived by his parents and three brothers and sisters.

June 3, 2010

Goldberg & Goldberg Secures A $1,000,000 Settlement In Rockford Medical Malpractice Case



Goldberg & Goldberg partner, Ian R. Alexander, secured a $1,000,000.00 settlement in the case of Newburg v. Swedish American Hospital, et al 02 L 263 which is pending in Winnebago County, Rockford, Illinois. In 2001, the day before Thanksgiving, Margaret Hoffman went to Swedish American Hospital complaining of chest and back pain. Doctors in the Emergency Room were able to determine that she was not having a heart attack. Her cardiologist ordered the hospital to perform a CT Scan of Ms. Hoffman's chest in order to rule out an aortic aneurysm as the cause of her pain. The hospital did not carry out the order for a CT scan until 48 hours later when Ms. Hoffman experienced a drop in her hemoglobin which indicated that the aneurysm had ruptured. Unfortuntely this intervention came to late and Ms. Hoffman, a 61 year old clerk at Zion Development Corporation, passed away on the operating table.

Ms. Hofman was survived by her two adult children. Records indicate that this settlement was one of the largest recoveries in recent history in Winnebago County for a wrongful death case where the survivors were adult children, and one of the few cases to settle in Rockford for in excess of $1,000,000.

We are very proud of the hard work that we did for Ms. Hoffman's family. From the beginning all of the defendants claimed that Ms. Hoffman's death was a result of her own poor health and had nothing to do with the numerous mistakes that they made in caring for her while she was a patient at the hospital over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2001.

April 20, 2010

Chicago Dance Instructor Killed In Train Crossing Accident



A 26 year old Chicago dance instuctor, Katie Lunn, was killed Friday night at an Amtrak railroad grade crossing in University Park, Illinois. Eyewitnesses initially told the police that the gates and lights were not working properly at the time of the accident.

katieLunn.jpg

Officials for the Canadian National Railway have now admitted that the grade crossing protection system was deactivated amd did not function as it whould have. CN crews working nearby had inadvertently deactivated the gates, bells and warning lights at the crossing prior to the accident.

Sadly, when Lunn crossed the tracks just east of Governors Highway at 9:40 p.m. her sport utility vehicle was struck by an oncoming train killing her instantly. There is no question that this accident and the tragic death of this young woman could have been avoided.

February 12, 2010

Suspect Id'd In Rachel Gilliam Fatal Hit & Run Case



Great news for the family of Rachel Gilliam, the 25 year-old DePaul student who was killed in a hit and run as she was leaving work on Halloween night. Chicagobreakingnews.com is reporting that a suspect has been Id'd in the fatal hit and run accident. The suspect identified by police is Carlos Castillo, a former Rogers Park man, who apparently did not have a driver's license at the time of the accident. Police believe that Castillo may have fled to Mexico shortly after the accident.

A tipster who had heard the news coverage of the crash apparently notified police about Castillo's possible involvement in the case. A search warrant was issued and police discovered a silver vehicle which is linked by physical evidence to Gilliam's death.

Anyone with information about Castillo's wherabouts is asked to call the Chicago Police Department's Major Accident Investigation Unit, 312-745-4521. We hope that the hard work of the police and the Gilliam family pays off and Castillo is brought back to Chicago to face charges.

February 5, 2010

Illinois Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Patient On Medical Malpractice Reform



The Illinois Supreme Court in a 4-2 decision struck down limits on damages awards in medical malpractice cases with its decision in Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital on thursday. The court held that the legislation was unconstitutional. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Fitzgeral held, in part: "[W]e necessarily consider...the legislature's goal in enacting the statue-responding to a health-care crisis. Our separation of powers analysis, however, does not stop there. The crux of our analysis is whether the statue unduly infringes upon the inherent power of the judiciary. Here, the legislature's attempt to limit...damages in medical malpractice actions runs afoul of the separation of powers clause."

This is a major victory for patients and consumers in Illinois. The legislature has tried, on three seperate occasions, to enact caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. For years lobbiests for the insurance industry have argued that medical malpractice awards have contributed to the high cost of health care in Illinois despite the fact that insurace payouts on these claims have remained level for the past two decades.

All citizens of Illinois should have a right to ask a jury of their peers for redress when they have been victimized by negligence, regardless of the profession of the guilty party. To see a copy of the Supreme Courts landmark opinion look here.

January 15, 2010

What Is Over Radiation In The Context Of Cancer Treatment As It Relates To Medical Malpractice?



Radiation therapy in cancer treatment uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and helps prevwent them from spreading throughout the body. The use of radiation therapy is one of the primary means that physicians have to help treat patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and is prescribed in 60% of all cancer treatment scenarios. Radiation is typically prescribed and administered through the use of an external beam which is provided by a machine called a linear accelerator. The beam is localized and given in precise measures of energy, or doses, to specific areas on the human body for treatment.

Over radiation occurs when some element of error occurs during the treatment process and the patient gets more then the prescribed dose of radiation over a period of time. While the linear accelerator is a very precise provider of radiation, there is a human component involved in doing the math and physics required to set up the machine to provide accurate treatment dosage. The system sometimes fails when these human failsafes are ignored and the patient receives the wrong amount of radiation.

The results for over radiated patients are devastating. The extra radiation, even in seemingly small doses, weakens and kills healthy tissue causing skin and organ damage, and often death. At Goldberg & Goldberg we have handled over radiation cases which have resulted in record recoveries for our clients including a verdict of $16 million and a settlement of $7.5 million.

January 12, 2010

GOLDBERG & GOLDBERG SECURES $7.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH OF A 60 YEAR OLD WOMAN IN CHICAGO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT



Barry D. Goldberg and Peter A. Nicholson of the Chicago law firm of Goldberg & Goldberg have settled a wrongful death case on behalf of the Estate of Patricia Quirk for $7.5 million. Quirk v. Little Company of Mary, et al., 05 L 00379. The case was assigned for trial to the Hon. Thomas Hogan in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Little Company of Mary is represented by Marilee Clausing and Susan Hannigan of Anderson, Rasor & Partners, Radiation Oncology, S.C. is represented by David Burkter of Cunningham, Meyer & Vedrine and the radiation oncologist is represented by Mary Cunningham of Kominiarek, Bresler, Harvick and Gundmundson, all of Chicago.

Beginning on March 26, 2003, Patricia Quirk received an overdose of radiation to her pelvis as she underwent radiation therapy for a stage 3 endometrial cancer. She received 50% more than the prescribed dose of radiation on 17 separate occasions during her radiation therapy. This radiation overdose ultimately perforated her bowel, causing her to become septic and leading to her death on May 8, 2004 at the age of 60. Mrs. Quirk is survived by her husband Thomas Quirk and two adult children. Mrs. Quirk was a life long resident of Chicago who resided in the West Lawn neighborhood. She was a social worker who was considered an expert in the field of community relations and the concurrent politics of mental health care. She was previously honored by four Chicago Mayors, the City Council and the Illinois General Assembly for her work with the mentally disabled citizens of Illinois.

Goldberg & Goldberg is a premier Chicago, Illinois law firm that concentrates its practice in the representation of plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits. In addition to this settlement Goldberg & Goldberg has secured other significant results in over radiation cases, including a $16 million jury verdict in 2005. Barry D. Goldberg, one of the firms senior partners, also has the largest personal injury verdict in the history of the state, a record setting $127 million result. Goldberg said, "we are pleased to be able to deliver some measure of justice to the Quirks who have suffered such a terrible loss of this wonderful person."

This settlement is a record settlement in Cook County for the wrongful death of an adult leaving no minor children as survivors, the previous record was $7.3 million, and is a record settlement for an over-radiation wrongful death case in Cook County.

December 11, 2009

Actor James Woods Settles Medical Malpractice Case And Gets An Apology



Hollywood actor James Woods setttled a medical malpractice case brought on behalf of his brother who died while he was a patient in the Emergency Room of Kent Hospital in Kent County, Rhode. The Providence Journal Online Edition is reporting that while the financial terms of the settlement are confidential, the hospital took the unusual step of apologizing to the Woods family for their mistake.

james woods.jpg

Woods said the impetus for the settlement came with a phone call from hospital president Sandra Coletta. In that call, he said he heard something he'd never heard from Kent Hospital before, someone saying she was sorry for his family's loss.

It has been widely reported that apologizing for medical mistakes is the number one way a doctor or hospital can help curtail a medical malpractice claim. Often times patients and their families are looking for closure after the loss of a loved one. An apology is often the piece of the grief puzzle that helps wounds heal and allows people to move on after a tragedy.

For his part, Woods said the conclusion would give him, if not closure, some piece of mind about the meaning of his brother's death. "It makes it possible for me to go to my brother's grave and ask if I've done the right thing," he said.

December 7, 2009

Don't Get Sick On Christamas: Medical Malpractice Over The Holidays



Conventional wisdom says don't get sick over the holidays. Hospitals are understaffed, doctors are distracted and the overall quality of medical care is diminished at even the finest of institutions. Over and over again we see cases at otherwise fine Chicago area hospitals that have one thing in common. The negligence occurs over the Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's holidays. Unfortunately, we can't choose when we get sick and people certaintly need medical help over the holidays, so keep the following in mind:

Become an advocate for yourself. Hospitals run on skeleton shift over any major holiday. Do not simply assume that Doctors and Nurses are thinking about you and your condition, they are not. they are thinking about the holidays like everyone else. Remind them of critical information and ask questions. If you are not satisfied with a response make sure they explain it to you again in plain english until you understand.

Go up the Chain of Command. if you are unhappy with the care you are receiving or if you are felling neglected, ask to speak with a supervisor, the head of the department or the vice-president of nursing. Doctors are accountable to the chairman of their service as well. Demand someone pay you the proper amount of attention.

Do not accept substandard or substitute care just because it is a holiday weekend. Hospitals are required to maintain full operating staffs and are required to provide services like Ct scans and MRIs over a holiday weekend. If these things are unavailable due to a holiday staffing shortage then the hospital is required to transfer you to a facility that is operational. Do not accept the excuse that a service cannot be provided because it is a holiday weekend.

Follow this tips and advice and hopefully you holiday hospital stays will be short and uneventful.