On December 4, 2015, a Chicago medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $22.18 million for her respiratory distress that led to respiratory arrest and a hypoxic brain injury. The medical malpractice defendant was the Chicago hospital where the alleged medical negligence occurred.
The plaintiff’s Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant’s employees and staff were medically negligent in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of the plaintiff, and that as a result of the medical negligence, the plaintiff incurred past and future medical, care, and treatment expenses, lost earnings, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of normal life, which losses the jury valued at $22,185,598.50.
The plaintiff had been admitted to the defendant hospital as a result of a dental abscess and infection. The plaintiff’s infection spread to her throat, causing her to suffer a condition that threatened to close off her airway. The hospital staff performed a successful emergency tracheostomy to prevent the plaintiff’s airway from becoming compromised.
The plaintiff was treated for several days with antibiotics and she was about to be discharged on the sixth day when she developed bleeding at the site of her tracheostomy. Fortunately, the plaintiff’s sister was in her hospital room and called for assistance (the sister had to call several times before medical assistance arrived at the plaintiff’s bedside).
The hospital staff who arrived at the plaintiff’s bedside were a resident-on-call and a senior resident, both of whom did not have experience dealing with management of a tracheostomy. The senior resident was present when the plaintiff suffered respiratory arrest but was unable to re-establish the plaintiff’s airway. An anesthesiologist was eventually able to re-establish the plaintiff’s airway by re-positioning the tracheostomy tube but by that time the plaintiff had suffered severe permanent brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to her brain.
The plaintiff, through her medical malpractice attorneys, successfully argued to the jury that the plaintiff’s tracheostomy had become obstructed and that the defendant hospital’s medical staff negligently failed to re-establish the plaintiff’s airway in a timely and appropriate manner, thereby causing her devastating brain injury. The defense argued to the jury that the plaintiff’s sister had manipulated the tracheostomy tube out of its proper position, which caused an obstruction that led to the plaintiff’s respiratory arrest and her resulting brain damage.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorneys fought for ten years to obtain justice for their client; unfortunately (and sadly), the plaintiff died the night before the Chicago medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in her favor.
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