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The Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter is honoring our partner, Barry Goldberg, for his outstanding achievement as a trial lawyer at their 50th Anniversary Gala being held on October 21, 2010 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel. Barry is being honored for being one of only a handful of trial lawyers who have five or more five million dollar verdicts. In addition to this achievement, Barry was the first medical malpractice lawyer in the State of Illinois to achieve a million dollar verdict and/or settlement and to this day holds the record high verdict in Illinois in a personal injury matter, an award in excess of $127 million.

We are proud of Barry and his many accomplishments.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fact: Did you know independent authoritative studies have shown that medical malpractice claims have little effect on overall health care costs?

• Malpractice claims boost overall health care costs no more than a tiny percentage according to the Congressional Budget Office.

• The Congressional Budget Office has also concluded that the most anti-patient medical malpractice “reforms” may lead to poorer health care and worse patient outcomes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reported today about Goldberg & Goldberg’s record recovery in a wrongful death case where the deceased had only adult children survivng her. Patricia Quirk, age 60, died in 2004 after her doctors at Little Company Of Mary Hospital negligently over radiated her while treating her for cancer.

The lawsuit accused The Hospital and Quirk’s radiation oncologist of failing to make sure that Ms. Quirk received the proper amount of radiation while receiving treatment for stage 3 endometrial cancer. She ultimately received overradiation on seventeen different occasions of her treatment. Ironically, at the time of her death she was cancer free,

The lawsuit settled for $7.5 million. Mrs. Quirk is survived by her husband and two sons.