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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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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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.”

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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.jpgWoods 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.

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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.

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An Amtrak train travelling from Chicago to Seattle struck and killed a man in Deerfield, Illinois on Sunday. Amtrak has identified the man as a “trespasser” walking along the tracks near Dundee Rd. in the north suburban town when the Amtrak Empire Builder struck and killed him at around 3 p.m.

Officials are reporting that the man is in his 20s, his identity has not yet been disclosed. Railroads are particularly agressive in blaming the victims of accidents for their own injuries and deaths in the immediate wake of a tragedy involving a train collision. Often times, after investigating an accident, we learn that the railroad is to blame for an accident that they initially blamed on the person who was injured or killed.

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Joanne Doroshow wrote an excellent article in the Monday, November 9, 2009 edition of The Huffington Post called Medical Malpractice Tort Reform – We Are Already Suffering And Don’t Need More. She points out that unless you are currently living under a rock you have heard the term “tort reform” but, sadly, probably don’t know what it really means.

In Illinois we have tort reform as it relates to medical malpractice. Starting in 1985, and every ten years thereafter, the state legislature has based some sort of restriction on the publics right to sue for personal injury. In the late 1990s the Illinois Supreme Court struck down these restrictions, overruling the legislature, and finding them to be unconstitutional. The legislature, bowing to pressure from the insurance industry, tried again in 2005 and passed limits on jury awards as they relate to doctors and hospitals only. That legislation is currently being reviewed for constitutionality by the Supreme Court and we expect a ruling on the issue in the near future.

The term tort reform implies that its results would be beneficial to everyone. Sadly, this is not the case. Tort reform in Illinois will only make it harder for average hard working men and women to seek redress for the harms caused to them as victims of negligence. The tort reform movement was started by and is funded by insurance companies. The same companies that have the most to gain financially by limiting jury awards.

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The family of Rachel Gilliam, a 25 year old woman who was killed by a hit and run driver on Chicago’s northside last week is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer. According to witnesses, Rachel was struck and killed by the driver of a silver 4-door Lexus as she attempted to hail a cab in the 4300 block of North Lincoln Avenue at approximately 3:30 a.m. November 1st. Rachel had just finished her shift at Bowman’s Bar & Grill where she was a bartender. Her colleagues stated she was dressed as a bride in celebration of Halloween.

We first reported on this tragic accident on November 3, and are sad to report that Rachel’s killer remains at large. Members of the public are asked to call the Chicago P.D. Major Accident Investigative Unit at 312-745-4521 or private investigator Susan Carlson of Carlson Investigations, Inc. at 847-491-9182 with helpful information. “At this time, the vehicle which struck Rachel is believed to be a silver Lexus and was seen heading South on Lincoln Ave.,” Carlson said. “If someone knows something, we urge you to come forward so that the Gilliam family can have justice for their daughter.”

A fundraiser is being held Tuesday evening at Bowman’s Bar & Grill at 4356 N. Leavitt Street beginning at 7 p.m.

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Chicago Police are searching for a silver Lexus they believe struck and killed a 25 year old Chicago woman who had just finished a busy Halloween night shift tending bar at a northside tavern.

Rachel Gilliam, age 25, was an employee of Bowman’s Bar and Grill in the North Center neighborhood on the city’s northside. She was struck and killed at almost 4 am at around 4314 N. Lincoln avenue. Police believe the Lexus rolled through a stop sign.

Gilliam was a Kansas City native who moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University. She was a world traveller. She is survived by her family,

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The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that two people were killed in a two-car crash in northwest suburban Park Ridge. Police found the two vehicles involved in the car accident at 2 am Monday morning near the intersection of Oakton and Riverside Drive in suburban park Ridge, Illinois.

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Police found one car located near the intersection and a second vehicle about 75 feet away in a wooded area. The accident claimed the lives of a 37 year old Morton Grove woman and a 24 year old resident of Des Plaines. Four other passengers in the vehicles were injured but survived.

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A downstate Illinois jury returned a $6.74 million dollar jury verdict to the family of a Decatur man killed at on of Archer Daniels Midland’s downstate Illinois facillities. The 26 year old man was working for a St. Louis based company installing pipes at the plant. The accident that was the subject of this wrongful death lawsuit occured in 2007.

Archer Daniels Midland, also known as ADM, is a argiculture conglomerate based in Decatur, Illinois with 270 plants worldwide that process grains and oilseeds used to manufacture food and beverages.

A machine on which the plaintiff was working malfunctioned, spraying him with scalding liquid and steam. The accident caused the plaintiff to suffer burns to over 90% of his body and later caused his death. The jury returned this verdict on behalf of the parents and siblings of the deceased.

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