I think sample settlements and verdicts are a useful tool in conjunction with other tools to help victims better understand at least the range of values in a medical malpractice case. Clearly, no two cases are the same and you cannot summarizes a case in a paragraph. Sometimes, I have tried or settled cases where there is no way I could summarize the case in a way that would explain why the plaintiff won or why the verdict was as high or low as it was. Said differently, reading these is important and education in understanding the value of medical malpractice claims in Illinois but you can only learn so much from these. If you have what appears to be an exactly identical case, the results could be very different.
All of these verdicts are from 2014 to 2019. Illinois is a big state. A lot of cases go to trial here.
- 2019, Illinois: $100,673,368 Verdict: A woman presented to the hospital after her water broke. She was 37 weeks pregnant. Her fetal heart rate indicated decelerations. The woman’s treating physician spoke to her on the phone but did not evaluate her in person. The woman eventually went home. Four days later, she presented to the hospital and subsequently had an emergency C-section. Her son was born unresponsive and lifeless. He received a cerebral palsy and seizure disorder diagnosis. The woman’s counsel alleged that the physician failed to inform her of the risks of continuing her pregnancy rather than deliver, failed to monitor her on the day she went into labor, and failed to timely perform a C-section. The Cook County jury awarded a $100,673,368 verdict. However, it was reduced to $48,195,000, based on a pre-trial settlement.
- 2018, Illinois: $12,000,000 Verdict. A deceased 70-something woman’s estate alleged that an ER physician, a radiologist, and two family physicians failed to detect lung cancer in her upper left lobe. She initially visited the ER with signs and symptoms that suggested pneumonia. The woman underwent a chest X-ray which showed no signs of pneumonia and she was sent home. An hour after the X-ray, a radiologist found an abnormality. Her estate contended that he should have ordered a CT scan that would have detected lung cancer. They also noted that the radiologist failed to notify the ER physician of the abnormality. Three weeks later, the woman saw a primary care physician, who received the radiologist’s records that included the abnormality. However, the physician did not order additional testing or discuss the possibility of cancer with her. A year later, the woman saw another family physician, who did not familiarize himself with her charts. Her estate contended that if he did, he would have ordered additional testing. The woman eventually received a lung cancer diagnosis, which showed that it was already terminal. She began chemotherapy treatment, but she died nine months later. Her estate contended that her cancer would have been curable had she been diagnosed sooner. The Cook County jury awarded a $12,000,000 verdict.
- 2017, Illinois: $600,000 Verdict. A woman underwent cataract surgery. She suffered a left eye injury when it leaked after the hospital staff removed her stitches. The woman sued her ophthalmologist for prematurely removing her stitches. The ophthalmologist admitted negligence but denied the extent of the injury. A Cook County jury awarded the woman $800,000.
- 2016, Illinois: $5,008,921 Verdict. A 36-year-old woman died of cardiac arrest after she underwent a hysterectomy. Her estate alleged that the gynecologist inserted a plastic trocar that accidentally lacerated the left common iliac artery. The anesthesiologist noticed abnormal signs, which she thought was a result of bleeding. The patient’s heart rate increased, and the anesthesiologist administered more medication to lower it. Another anesthesiologist eventually took over and suspected internal bleeding. A hematocrit and hemoglobin test was conducted, which confirmed bleeding. The surgeon eventually performed exploratory surgery and discovered massive internal bleeding. The surgical team attempted transfusions, but the woman already experienced significant cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead two hours later. Her estate alleged that the treating surgeon failed to timely recognize and rectify the bleeding. They also alleged that the initial anesthesiologist failed to timely perform a blood test that would have confirmed it. The Tazwell County jury awarded the estate a $5,008,921 verdict.
- 2015, Illinois: $4,200,000 Verdict. A 63-year-old man was brought to the ER after he overdosed on pills. He was admitted to the psychiatric ward after being stabilized. Two days later, the man found a knife that he used to stab himself over 30 times. Hospital staff found him lying in a pool of blood. Despite undergoing a life-saving surgery, he sustained brain damage from blood loss. He could no longer work as an attorney. The man sued the hospital for failing to protect him. He sought compensation for the loss of future wages, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The man alleged that hospital personnel failed to categorize him as high-risk because he previously attempted suicide on the premises. A Cook County jury awarded him $4,200,000.
- 2014, Illinois: $3,000,000, Settlement: A 35-year-old woman goes to the emergency room, complaining of double vision and fatigue. After a negative CT scan, she is discharged and followed up with her personal doctor. After a diagnosis of Gillian-Barre syndrome, the physician prescribes medication for the patient, only for her to become hypoxic 24 hours later. Believing her to be suffering from COPD and ascending paralysis, the doctors performed a tracheostomy. Afterward, a nurse attempted to bathe the patient, resulting in her trachea tube becoming dislodged, causing acidosis, brain damage, and cardiac arrest. The patient later died as a result of the botched bed-bath. Her two adult children alleged that the nurse should have asked for help when performing the bath by having another nurse secure her airway. The parties entered into mediation, eventually settling for $3,000,000. Craig v. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp.
- 2014, Illinois: $935,600, Settlement: After suffering from joint pain, a 53-year-old woman seeks treatment from a foot treatment specialist. The doctor completes a full examination of her feet and recommends fusion treatment in both feet, even claiming it would be a “win-win” situation. She experiences pain almost immediately after surgery and follows up with the doctor, who determines that the patient is suffering from a hematoma. Her toe was necrotic within two weeks, and the patient has to undergo an amputation of her big toe. She sues the foot treatment center and doctor, however, the center is dismissed from the case early on. She then alleges that the doctor should have realized that her toe was experiencing complications, and treated it accordingly in addition to warning her about the potential risk of surgery. The doctor disputes both claims, but a jury eventually awards $935,600 to the patient, $850,00 of which included past and future disability, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Neiderkorn v. Weil
- 2014, Illinois: $2,747,768, Verdict: The patient undergoes a hysterectomy and suffers a fatal pulmonary embolism the day after a post-op visit to her OB-GYN. The patient’s family sues, claiming that the doctor failed to recognize the onset of the embolism and failed to take proper preventive measures. The defense argues that the patient was a Jehovah’s Witness, who would not accept a blood transfusion. This being the case, a dosage of blood-thinner (which would have reduced the chance of embolism) would have made the hysterectomy riskier. Still, the jury awarded the patient’s family $2,747,768, with $1,500,000 stemming from the family’s loss of companionship. Mitchell v. Majumdar.
- 2014, Illinois: $85,000, Settlement: A bookkeeper, 56, receives a dental implant. The dentist completes the procedure, but the patient suffered a sliced nerve resulting in pain. She receives corrective surgery a month later and sues the original dentist. The patient alleges that the injury resulted from the dentist placing the implant too low in her jaw, which resulted from sloppy pre-operation prep. The dentist argued that this type of pain was unpredictable and could happen even if a doctor takes every precaution. The parties settled, and the patient received $85,000. Anasenes v. Silc.
- 2014, Illinois: $4,804,457, Verdict: A 38-year-old physical therapist (with Crohn’s disease) undergoes bowel resection surgery. After surgery, she suffers severe abdominal pain, prompting the doctor to perform exploratory surgery. He removes part of the patient’s bowel, while also repairing an abscess. The patient then develops severe sepsis and remains hospitalized for six weeks, while also recovering from an ileostomy caused by the doctor’s extra surgery. Over the next 11 months, the patient has lengthy medical visits to manage her condition, while also undergoing another surgery to repair the damage caused by the extra surgery. The patient sues the original doctor and hospital. After settling with the hospital, she alleges that the doctor should have told her that he had never performed the operation on someone with Crohn’s before and that the initial surgery was unnecessary. The doctor claims that the surgery was needed, and that there was no reason to disclose that he had not performed the surgery on anyone with Crohn’s. The patient further alleges lasting pain, diarrhea, and an addiction to painkillers that forced her to attend rehab. A jury awards her $4,804,457, which includes $909,457 in medical costs and $2,000,000 in pain and suffering. Walters v. Adajar.
- 2014, Illinois: $1,269,926, Verdict: A 34-year-old waitress gets surgery to remove a bunion on her big toe and to get an implant in her ankle. The surgery fails, and the patient’s condition worsens, leading to a nonunion of the bone in her big toe. A few months after surgery, the patient goes to the emergency room with severe foot pain and eventually has to get corrective surgery. However, this time, she develops MRSA in her right foot, along with continuing pain. The patient sues the doctor alleging that the surgery was performed negligently. She claims that the doctors inserted a screw in her big toe improperly, leading to the nonunion. Despite the doctor’s denials, the jury awards the patient $1,269,926. Doedtman v. Borreggine
- 2014, Illinois: $415,090, Verdict: A financial consultant, 29, goes to the doctor for allergy treatment and is proscribed L-Glutamine powder. However, a mix-up resulted in the doctor’s office giving the patient Selenium power instead. The patient later takes a toxic dose (thinking it was L-Glutamine), which sends her to the hospital. Only making things worse, the patient is pregnant, and her child is born with cognitive defects. Her family sues the doctor, claiming that she suffered PTSD from the poisoning and that her child’s cognitive defects resulted from it. The doctor argued that the injuries from the poisoning did not last long, and it was uncertain whether the medication mix-up caused the child’s birth defects. The plaintiff sought $5,000,000 but was awarded $415,090 by the jury. Brucker v. Mercola.