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Our Victories and Success Stories

Winnebago County Personal Injury Lawyers Have Won Millions of Dollars in Verdicts and Settlements for Injured Clients

Medical Malpractice

$19.2 Million
For wrongful death of a child from birth injuries related to meconium aspiration
A woman who was 39 weeks pregnant went to the hospital in labor. After 11 hours, fetal heart rate tracing showed signs of fetal distress, and evidence that the baby was experiencing stress and had passed meconium was observed, but the obstetrician allowed labor to proceed for another 4.5 hours. After the drug Pitocin was administered to help labor proceed, fetal heart deceleration was observed, but the drug continued being administered. After delivery, the baby suffered lung damage and respiratory failure and died due to meconium aspiration syndrome and its complications after 18 days.

$10 Million
For a child who was left brain damaged by an air embolism

$8 Million
For a child suffering cerebral palsy due to delay in delivery

$8 Million
Vlahovic v. Catherine Baker, M.D.
A 69-year-old woman was seen by her internist on several occasions over a three-month span. During each visit, the patient’s blood pressure was significantly elevated. However, the internist did not diagnose hypertension and did not prescribe any medications to lower her blood pressure. Consequently, the patient suffered a massive hypertensive hemorrhagic stroke which left her permanently disabled requiring 24-hour assistance.

$7.5 Million
For a child suffering cerebral palsy due to delay in delivery

$4.8 Million
Suera v. Floyd Heller, M.D.
A 46-year-old mother of three underwent a neurosurgical procedure to treat an arteriovenous malformation in her left neck. The surgery was uneventful and the patient was doing well in the post-anesthesia care unit. However, the surgeon ordered the patient to be electively intubated to protect her airway. Almost immediately after the anesthesiologist intubated the patient, she developed cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated. A subsequent chest x-ray showed that the endotracheal tube had been placed into the esophagus, instead of the trachea.

$4 Million
Death of a baby who was injured in-utero
A woman was treated with antihypertensive medications, during which time she was unknowingly pregnant. Her healthcare providers failed to perform a pregnancy test before prescribing a medication which is known to result in birth defects. The medication had a detrimental effect on the infant, who was later born with hypoplastic kidneys and died in her toddler years.

$4 Million
Death of a baby who was injured in-utero
A woman who was 36 weeks pregnant went to the hospital complaining of bleeding and leaking amniotic fluid. She was admitted and an external fetal heart rate monitor was applied. The fetal heart rate tracings revealed a sinusoidal fetal heart rate pattern, a non-reassuring heart rate pattern closely associated with fetal anemia. The nurses failed to timely communicate the abnormal fetal heart rate tracing and bleeding to a physician. Once the baby was delivered, he required extensive resuscitation. Despite efforts to save the baby, he died a few days later.

$4 Million
For the death of a child whose mother was exposed to harmful medications during pregnancy

$3.4 Million
For a stillborn infant who died during labor and delivery

$3.2 Million
Kostal v. Pinkus Dermatopathology Laboratory
On December 3, 2001, a woman underwent a biopsy for two skin lesions which had recently developed. The biopsy specimen was sent to Pinkus Dermatopathology Laboratory, S.C., where it was read by Dr. Darius Mehregan. Dr. Mehregan read and reported the specimen as squamous cell carcinoma of the keratoacanthoma (KA) type. The plaintiff underwent total excision of the lesions, a standard treatment for KA. In late January 2002, the plaintiff developed migraine-like pain in her forehead as well as back pain. The plaintiff’s back pain increased, and she went to the emergency department of Palos Community Hospital on February 5, 2002. At Palos, an MRI was obtained which showed destruction of her spine. Biopsies of the eroded vertebrae were obtained which revealed blastomycosis. Palos pathologist, Dr. Ruby, requested the slides from Pinkus to determine if in fact the patient ever had KA or if the blastomycosis was missed on the December specimen. Upon review, Dr. Ruby determined that the diagnosis of KA was incorrect, and the correct diagnosis was blastomycosis. As a result of her significant bony erosion in her spine, the plaintiff required a fusion from T4-L1, which utilized a rib graft and instrumentation. The plaintiff was unable to return to work. Plaintiff contended that Dr. Mehregan, as agent of Pinkus, was negligent in incorrectly diagnosing the biopsy specimen. The defense contended that while Dr. Mehregan incorrectly diagnosed the biopsy specimen, he had complied with the standard of care. The defense further argued that the plaitiff had been experiencing back pain as early as October, evidencing that the fungal infection had already begun to erode her spine and eliminating causation as to the pathology diagnosis reported in December. The case proceeded to trial in September 2012. The jury awarded the plaintiff in excess of $3 million dollars.

$3 Million
Untreated valve disease and hypothyroidism causes death
A 26-year-old wife and mother of three young children died from complications of hyperthyroidism and a heart valve leak, both of which conditions went undiagnosed and untreated by her cardiologist. When the diagnosis was later made, she was in thyroid storm, making her valve condition inoperable.

$3 Million
For death of a woman who received improper dialysis medications.

$2.7 Million
For below the knee amputation
A 60-year-old patient underwent bilateral knee replacement surgery. While her left knee replacement was without complication, during her right knee replacement the surgeon transected her popliteal artery and vein. The severed popliteal artery and vein were not immediately recognized. While attempts to restore blood flow to the patient’s right leg were later made, the limb could not be salvaged and the patient required an amputation at the knee.

$2.7 Million
For failure to timely diagnose breast cancer

$2.65 Million
For young woman who suffered a foot drop
During a scoliosis surgery, the intraoperative somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring revealed a significant change in the patient's condition. The neurophysiologic monitoring technician failed to timely notify the surgeon of this finding. The surgeon relied upon the accuracy of the monitoring personnel in making intraoperative evaluations of the health of the spinal cord and the appropriate surgical course of action. Had the surgeon been notified of the significant change in the neurophysiologic (SSEP) monitoring, he would have taken different surgical maneuvers, removed the spinal instrumentation, and/or stopped the surgery. As a result of the technician's failure to report the changes to the surgeon, the patient suffered a permanent spinal cord injury and a foot drop.

$2.6 Million
For death of a woman following cardiac catheterization

$2.45 Million
For the family of a baby who died following routine surgery because of misplaced sutures in the baby’s aorta
An infant was born with a tracheo-esophageal fistula, a congenital anomaly which results in a connection between the trachea and esophagus. This condition can be easily repaired surgically by suturing the tracheo-esophageal fistula (hole) closed. During this infant's surgical repair, the surgeon improperly placed multiple sutures into the wall of the baby's aorta (a major blood vessel). Compounding his error in placing the sutures into the baby’s aorta, the surgeon failed to recognize this error intra-operatively. Had he been appropriately careful, he would have been able to discover that he had misplaced these sutures and could have simply removed them without causing any untoward long-term effects on the baby. Unfortunately, he did not discover this mistake intra-operatively. The sutures in the baby's aorta significantly impaired blood flow to the lower two-thirds of her body, including her critical abdominal organs and her spinal cord. Over time as these organs were deprived of sufficient blood flow and oxygenation, they slowly began to suffer irreversible injury. The infant died a few days later from these injuries.

$2.4 Million
Improper treatment of compartment syndrome
A 28-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with a broken leg following a fall. Her leg was placed in a cast and she was kept overnight awaiting a consult by orthopedic surgeon. The following morning, the surgeon examined her and recommended surgery. During and/or subsequent to surgery, the patient developed compartment syndrome, a condition in which increased pressure from tissue swelling results in decreased perfusion and limb ischemia. Despite elevated pressure readings and the patient’s progressive complaints of pain, numbness, tingling, and difficulty moving her toes following surgery, her compartment syndrome was not diagnosed until the following morning. While a fasciotomy was performed to release the pressure and treat the compartment syndrome, the patient developed chronic pain and decreased function of her leg. She later underwent a below-the-knee-amputation.

$2.3 Million
Smola v. Jeffrey Sheedy, D.O.
A 46-year old male tore his left distal biceps tendon while working as a maintenance mechanic for UPS. He saw defendant orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sheedy, who recommended surgical reattachment of the tendon. Dr. Sheedy performed the surgery to reattach plaintiff’s biceps tendon at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields. After the surgery, Dr. Sheedy found no palpable pulses at the wrist. He called for a vascular surgery consult. As a consequence of a vascular injury, the plaintiff suffered a period of ischemia, which led to permanent median sensory nerve damage, as documented in four EMG test results. The median nerve injury subsequently led to development of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in his left arm. It was uniformly agreed that the plaintiff’s median nerve injury is likely permanent – awarded $2,350,000.

$2 Million
For wrongful death of woman who suffered a fatal heart attack while waiting to be seen in the hospital Emergency Department

$1.9 Million
For death of man from untreated AAA
A 69-year-old retired man, survived by a widow and estranged adult son, died from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). While the aneurysm was diagnosed in the emergency department overnight, no surgeon saw the patient until the following morning. His AAA ruptured and he was taken emergently to surgery, but he suffered irreversible organ damage and later died.

$1.8 Million
For a man receiving an overdose of radiation for treatment of prostate cancer

$1.75 Million
For family of a child who died shortly after childbirth

$1.7 Million
For the death of a woman from arterial dissection
A 55-year-old woman diagnosed with an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) was taken emergently to the cardiac catheterization lab. During the catheterization, certain target lesions were identified as the cause of her myocardial ischemia. Stents were placed in the target lesions. After the stenting, she experienced relief from her symptoms of myocardial ischemia. The following day (Day 1 post-procedure), she had no significant chest pain or shortness of breath and her troponin level (a hormone released by damaged heart muscle, which is considered a cardiac marker) started coming down. A couple days later, (Day 3 post-procedure), she reported no chest pain or shortness of breath and her troponin levels continued to trend downward. Another EKG was obtained, which was benign and showed no evidence of stent thrombosis. Nevertheless, her physician took her back to the catheterization lab to perform a right coronary angiogram for the purpose of “checking the stent.” The angiogram revealed that the stents were patent, meaning she did not need any further intervention. Nevertheless, her physician then performed an unindicated elective stenting of the patient’s left coronary vessels despite the fact that (a) the patient had no chest pain complaints that morning; (b) the patient’s EKG was fine; (c) the patient’s troponin level continued downward; and (d) he did not advise the patient that he was going to do anything to that vessel. During that stenting, the physician encountered substantial difficulty advancing the guidewire and caused an extensive dissection of the left main circumflex and LAD. Despite attempts to perform emergent cardiac bypass surgery, the patient died from the dissection (tearing) of her left main coronary artery.

$1.7 Million
Larson v. Richard Miller, M.D. and Miller Eye Center
The defendant, Dr. Miller performed ECP surgery on the plaintiff, a 75-year old female retiree, at the Rockford Ambulatory Surgery Center. Dr. Miller had recommended that the plaintiff undergo the new glaucoma procedure known as endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP), in which incisions are made in the eye and a laser is used to reduce the amount of fluid produced by the eye. Dr. Miller had never before performed the ECP surgery, and his training on the procedure consisted of a one-day course taught by the device manufacturer’s representatives, neither of whom were physicians. During the procedure, Dr. Miller placed three incisions in the plaintiff’s left eye, although the procedure is typically performed with no more than two incisions. After making the third incision, he noticed the blood in the back of the eye. The plaintiff sustained a catastrophic choroidal hemorrhage which caused total and permanent blindness in her left eye. Prior to the surgery, her left eye vision was 20/30. The plaintiff subsequently developed phthisis, a shriveling and shrinking of the eyeball. Her current ophthalmologist, Dr. Edward Yavitz, testified that the glaucoma in the plaintiff’s right eye remains stable and her corneal edema has completely abated. The plaintiff asserted Dr. Miller was negligent in performing an unnecessary ECP procedure when the patient’s glaucoma and optic nerve were stable, and she was at significant risk of hemorrhage during surgery. The plaintiff further contended that the defendant’s medication management of her glaucoma was improper in that he prescribed multiple prostaglandin eyedrops simultaneously which often have the effect of increasing intraocular pressure, causing the patients corneal edema.

$1.5 Million
For the death of a man in DeKalb County from a misdiagnosed heart attack
A 51-year-old man presented to the ER complaining of acute onset chest pain. Three ECGs were obtained, which revealed an evolving myocardial infarction. Disregarding these changes, his physician negligently discharged him with a diagnosis of gastritis. He was brought back to the hospital an hour later and his heart attack was diagnosed, but treatment failed and he died. He was survived by two adult children.

$1.4 Million
Bray v. Patrick Murphy, M.D., et al.
An 82-year-old man was being evaluated in the hospital for a possible cardiac condition. While a series of cardiac tests were being completed, he was placed on IV Heparin. The Heparin was continued even though the cardiac tests came back normal and despite the fact that the drug was interfering with the normal clotting of his blood. The patient developed internal bleeding from coagulopathy which resulted in multiple organ failure and death.

$1.2 Million
For the family of a woman who died of internal bleeding while 8 months pregnant
A woman who was nearly 35 weeks pregnant was brought by ambulance to the hospital complaining of severe left-sided abdominal pain and difficulty breathing. In the emergency department, she was noted to be pale and drowsy and her blood pressure and temperature were somewhat low. Blood test samples were drawn in the emergency department but were never evaluated by the lab due to an error in how the lab test orders were entered. Inexplicably, no bloodwork was ever obtained for this patient. Because she was pregnant, she was transferred to the labor and delivery department. Once in the labor and delivery department, she was placed onto electronic fetal monitoring. For the first few hours, during which time only one set of maternal vital signs were obtained, the fetal heart rate tracings were reassuring. Subsequently, the fetal heart rate tracings began to reflect fetal distress. Despite fetal bradycardia with late decelerations, the baby was left in utero for more than an hour. During the cesarean section a retroperitoneal hemorrhage was found. Both the mother and baby died from complications related to the mother’s internal bleeding.

$1.1 Million
For the family of a woman who bled to death following removal of a surgical drain
A 68-year-old female underwent aorto bilateral iliac bypass grafting surgery. During the procedure, blood was noted in her urine, a finding is highly suspicious for a ureteral injury. Despite this finding, nothing was done to evaluate the patient for ureteral injury. Had a ureteral injury been discovered immediately, a primary repair of the ureter would have been performed. Instead, the surgeon placed JP drains at the conclusion of the surgery. In the days following surgery, there were liters of output from the drains, consistent with a ureteral injury. No investigation of the fluid was done to determine its source. She was discharged from the hospital and 5 days later re-presented complaining of abdominal pain and fatigue and continued drainage from the surgical drains. A CT scan was done which showed a large fluid collection in the area of the right ureter with active extravasation within the fluid collection. Despite these additional findings consistent with ureteral injury, no further investigation was done and no urologist was consulted. Approximately one month after the initial surgery, the ureteral injury was diagnosed. Another drain was placed, which tore through a small artery. When the drain was later removed, the patient suffered cardiovascular collapse due to bleeding and died.

$1 Million
Mossberger v. Midwest Respiratory
On July 12, 2007, the plaintiff went to her primary care physician for pre-operative clearance for cataract surgery. As part of his workup, he ordered a chest x-ray and a pulmonology consult with Dr. Garapat at Midwest Respiratory. The plaintiff saw Dr. Garapati on July 13, 2007. The following day, the plaintiff underwent a chest x-ray at Silver Cross Hospital, which showed an approximately 2 cm suspicious mass. On August 10, 2007, the plaintiff returned to see Dr. Garapati, at which visit he ordered a pulmonary function test. The plaintiff completed the pulmonary function test on September 17, 2007, and returned to see Dr. Garapati two days later. Another follow-up visit with Dr. Garapati was scheduled for December 19, 2007. On December 17, 2007, the July 2007 chest x-ray was faxed to Midwest Respiratory. Rather than being given directly to Dr. Garapati, the report was attached to the plaintiff’s chart in preparation for her upcoming visit. When the plaintiff missed the appointment, her chart, with the abnormal chest x-ray results attached to it, was returned to the file drawer. The following year, the plaintiff returned to Dr. Garapati complaining of increased shortness of breath. At this office visit, Dr. Garapati first saw the results of the July 14, 2007 chest x-ray. A week later, a CT scan revealed that the mass had grown to over 7cm and a biopsy confirmed it was squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. While the 2 cm mass first seen on the July 2007 chest x-ray would have placed the plaintiff at Stage 1a or 1b and given her the potential for surgical resection and cure, by September 2008, when the mass had grown to over 7 cm, she was diagnosed at Stage 3b, and surgery was no longer an option. Despite chemotherapy and radiation, the plaintiff died on July 29, 2009. The case proceeded to trial in Will County, Illinois, in September 2013. The Will County jury awarded $1,000,000 to the family of the plaintiff.

For injury during biceps tendon repair
A 46-year-old man suffered a nerve injury in his hand and arm following a biceps tendon repair surgery. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant surgeon transected the patient’s median nerve, however, EMG studies were inconclusive.

Lattuca v. Dr. Charles Tattersall, Vascular & General Surgical Associates, Ltd.
A 69-year-old man underwent a procedure to place a shunt in his left arm, and following the procedure, he experienced pain, numbness, and inability to move his hand and fingers. The surgeon prescribed pain medication, performed a banding procedure to increase blood flow, and eventually removed the shunt, but the symptoms did not improve, and due to the surgeon's failure to diagnose and treate forearm compartment syndrome, the patient developed contracture and eventually lost all use of his left arm and hand.

Thiel v. Dr. Nicholas Caro, St. George Eye Center
A 52-year-old woman underwent bilateral LASIK surgery, and one month later, a laser enhancement surgery was performed. The patient developed epithelial ingrowth, and six more surgeries were performed over the next 15 months to correct the issue. The patient continued to suffer from light sensitivity, multiple images, haze, and glare, and she eventually sought treatment elsewhere, where two more surgeries were required to correct the ingrowth. The defendant's negligence in performing an enhancement too soon after the original surgery and failing to properly treat the ingrowth resulted in irregular astigmatism, a loss in corrected visual acuity, and loss of vision quality, including ongoing light sensitivity.

For death of a man at LTAC
An 82-year-old man with progressive dementia was admitted to a long term acute care facility (LTAC) for ventilator management died when his tracheostomy tube became dislodged. Although the tube was quickly replaced, the patient was unable to be resuscitated. He was survived by a spouse and three adult children.

Construction/Workplace Accidents

$9 Million
For a worker catastrophically injured in an industrial accident

$8.5 Million
Calloway v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc.
On June 6, 2005, two workers, a father and son, were working at the bottom of a 12-14 foot deep trench, installing storm pipes on a construction project managed by Bovis Lend Lease. Because this trench was greater than 5 feet deep, OSHA requires that the trench be protected from cave-in by some form of support. Typically, this would involve the use of a trench box, a large steel frame that can prevent the side walls from collapse. On this day, however, two problems precluded use of the trench box: (1) a manhole structure that did not afford enough room to fit the box in the trench, and (2) a buried ComEd line that could cause electrocution if it touched the metal trench box. Contrary to OSHA guidelines and Bovis’ own site-specific safety plan, no substitute protection system was used. Two Bovis superintendents had been standing beside the unprotected trench observing the workers working in the trench without sufficient shoring prior to the collapse. Neither stopped the work or told the men to place proper shoring. The east wall of the trench caved in, burying the workers alive. More than an hour after the collapse, fellow workers and fire and rescue personnel were able to extricate the son from the trench. His pelvis was crushed, and he was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. After the extrication of the son, the search and rescue mission shifted to recovery mode for the father, who died in the trench. After multiple surgeries and prolonged hospitalization, the son is able to walk short distances with the assistance of a cane but remains permanently disabled from any type of work. Bovis was sued for construction negligence, failing to ensure workplace safety. The case proceeded to trial in January 2011. The jury awarded the plaintiff in excess of $8 million dollars.

For mechanic crushed by truck
A part-time itinerant handyman was crushed by the truck he was working under. He was survived by a 12-year-old daughter.

Car/Truck Accidents

$5.1 Million
For a woman suffering catastrophic injuries following an auto accident

$1.2 Million
For the death of a man struck by a truck
A 57-year-old man, survived by numerous heirs throughout the US and Mexico, died after his vehicle was struck by a semi-truck. Plaintiff successfully defeated two Motions for Summary Judgment brought by the trucking company and the freight broker prior to settlement.

Other Cases

$12.5 Million - Wrongful Death
Pleasance v. City of Chicago, Alvin Weems
An unarmed 23-year-old African American man was shot and killed by an off-duty Chicago Police officer at a CTA train station. The officer was trying to break up a fist fight that did not involve the decedent. The officer admitted in his deposition that the shooting was not justified and the case proceeded to trial on damages only after the City of Chicago admitted its liability.

$7.1 Million - Premises Liability
Spinks v. Arbys, Inc., et al.
A 19-year-old man was shot in the neck while dining at an Arby's restaurant in Elmhurst, resulting in quadriplegia. The restaurant franchisee was found liable due to lack of training for employees, permitting loitering in the restaurant, and failure to notify police of incidents which had occurred on the day of and the day before the shooting.

$4 Million - Sexual Assault
For clergy sexual assault/abuse

$1.5 Million - Wrongful Death
Deckert v. Pioneer Center of McHenry County
A 24-year-old woman who was a resident of a group home while being treated for mental illness was allowed to leave the home to walk to a nearby store at night. She was struck and killed by a car after becoming lost and attempting to cross a highway. The operators of the group home were held responsible for the supervisor's failure to review the patient's records and exercise the authority to deny residents the right to leave the home.

$9,607,598 - Work Injury. Father and son buried in trench collapse - one lives, one dies.
Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, April 1, 2011

$3,249,822 - Medical Malpractice. Fungal infection misdiagnosis as carcinoma.
Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, November 23, 2012

$2,350,000 - Medical Malpractice. Nerve damage and CRPS after biceps tendon surgery.
Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, January 7, 2011

$1,000,0000 - Medical Malpractice. Delayed diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter, May 2, 2014

$1,750,0000 - Medical Malpractice. Glaucoma surgery caused blindness and loss of eye.
Cook County & Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter, May 5, 2011

Medical Malpractice. Omission by radiologist allegedly led to death.

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