In its opinion filed on January 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois (“Illinois Supreme Court”) reversed the intermediate appellate court’s decision that the Illinois medical malpractice plaintiff was entitled to judgment n.o.v. in her medical malpractice wrongful death claim against an orthopedic doctor and the orthopedic medical practice that employed him involving their treatment of a patient who was treated nonsurgically for a partial tear of his Achilles tendon and later developed DVT that led to his death due to pulmonary embolism..
The Illinois Supreme Court stated: “In entering judgment n.o.v., the appellate court concluded in one paragraph that the evidence at trial showed that, if Glenn had returned to Rezin Orthopedics within two weeks of his initial appointment, the DVT would have likely been diagnosed and treated and, thus, the evidence supported the conclusion that Rezin Orthopedics’ negligence was a proximate cause of Glenn’s death. 2019 IL App (3d) 170299-U, ¶ 31. In reaching this conclusion, the appellate court ignored the evidence at trial supporting a reasonable conclusion that the DVT formed after March 3, 2009, and not within the two-week time frame for the prescribed followup appointment. Evidence at trial revealed that Glenn’s tightness and achiness somewhat improved after the February 25 telephone call, that swelling may occur for reasons other than a DVT, and that Glenn’s first significant symptom of a dangerous DVT occurred with thigh pain on March 7, 2009. The evidence thus supported a reasonable conclusion that Rezin Orthopedics’ failure to schedule a two-week follow-up appointment was not a substantial factor of Glenn’s death. The appellate court thus improperly substituted its judgment for that of the jury.”
The Illinois Supreme Court held: “ample evidence supported a reasonable conclusion that the pulmonary embolism resulting from a propagating DVT originating from an Achilles tendon tear was not the type of injury that a reasonable receptionist would see as a “likely result” of scheduling a follow-up appointment at three weeks, instead of two weeks. Instead, evidence was presented at trial revealing Glenn’s death was so “highly extraordinary” that imposing liability was not justified. See id. Legal responsibility must be limited to those causes that are so closely connected with the result and are of such significance that the law justifiably imposes liability. See id. ¶ 27; Prosser & Keeton on Torts § 41. Because evidence at trial supported a conclusion that Glenn’s death was not a reasonably foreseeable result of Rezin Orthopedics’ failure to schedule his follow-up appointment within two weeks of his initial appointment, the evidence also failed to support a finding of legal cause. For the foregoing reasons, the Pedrick standard has not been met, and we therefore reverse the appellate court’s judgment n.o.v.”
Source Steed v. Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, S.C., 2021 IL 125150.
If you or a loved one may have suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice in Illinois or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Illinois medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or telephone us on our toll-free line in the United States (800-295-3959) to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers who may assist you with your medical malpractice claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.