An Illinois surgeon who removed a patient’s wrong organ during surgery in 2005 was not professionally disciplined for his egregious wrongful act until September 24, 2014. The surgeon was disciplined by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Professional Regulation, by paying a fine in the amount of $2,500 and being reprimanded for “improperly removing a patient’s left kidney instead of an accessory spleen during laparoscopic surgery.”
The surgery took place on December 12, 2005, and was intended to remove the patient’s spleen. In the surgeon’s dictated operative report, he reportedly wrote that he had removed a “kidney-shaped spleen.” The removed organ was sent to pathology, which determined that the specimen submitted was the patient’s left kidney.
The patient filed an Illinois medical negligence case against her former surgeon, which was reportedly resolved by a settlement payment in the amount of $2 million in February 2013. Because the patient did not file a formal complaint with the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation with regard to her wrong organ surgery, the Division did not investigate the alleged medical wrongdoing – the courts in Illinois do not advise the Division when a medical malpractice case is filed in an Illinois court.
The Illinois Division of Professional Regulation states on its website that its mission is to “serve, safeguard and promote the health, safety and welfare of the public by ensuring that licensure qualifications and standards for professional practice are properly evaluated, applied and enforced.” Source
The Division begins a disciplinary investigation when “the Division becomes aware of a complaint against a licensee. Sources of complaints include members of the public, other licensees, law enforcement agencies, and other governmental agencies. Irregularities also are discovered by the agency during the course of routine enforcement activities and special enforcement programs.” Source
Wouldn’t it further the mission of the Division and the Department if Illinois required the courts to report all medical malpractice cases filed in any Illinois court so that the Division could monitor the court case while it is pending and undertake appropriate investigation and impose appropriate discipline in a timely fashion for physicians and other medical providers who are determined to have committed medical negligence or other medical wrongdoing that may represent a past and/or continuing danger to the safety of Illinois residents?
Would it not make sense for Illinois to require that the clerks of its courts promptly forward all pleadings to the Division shortly after each medical malpractice case is filed in court, and to require that the clerks of the courts promptly notify the Division regarding the final disposition of each medical malpractice case filed, so that the Division may satisfy its mission to protect the public? If Illinois imposed such a requirement on the clerks of its courts, then the Illinois surgeon who seriously harmed his patient in 2005 by removing the wrong organ during surgery would have faced professional discipline from the Division long before September 2014.
If you suffered serious injury as a result of medical negligence in Illinois or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of 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 in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.