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Illinois family gets $2.4M for malpractice suit

An Illinois jury has awarded $2.4 million to the estate of a nurse who died after emergency room physicians failed to appropriately diagnose her bowel obstruction in 2007. The woman, age 47, died because of the failure to diagnose, leaving behind her husband of 24 years, along with a son and granddaughter.

The suit in the matter was filed in 2009, alleging that physicians failed to diagnose and treat the serious medical condition. The woman was suffering serious abdominal and back pain as a result of the bowel obstruction, which seemed to be a complication related to the woman's previous gastric bypass surgery. Even though the physician knew that the woman had undergone that procedure, he did not take appropriate action to diagnose or treat the deadly bowel obstruction.

News reports show that the woman's husband is satisfied with the verdict. Even though it does not bring back his wife, he said he hopes the doctors have learned from the mistake. The woman's husband said that few people go into the hospital or emergency room thinking that they will be mistreated, but the fact remains that scores of Illinois residents die every year because of medical errors. The family will receive just over $2.4 million in connection with the death.

Civil plaintiffs seeking damages for medical malpractice should be aware that the state of Illinois does not permit the collection of punitive damages for medical malpractice. This effectively limits the amount of money that can be distributed from the defendants and their insurance companies. In this situation, the judgment was based on actual damages - medical costs, funeral costs and other concrete civil claims - rather than being designed to punish the medical professionals named in the suit.

No patient deserves to suffer additional injury, or even death, because of the poor decision-making of hospital physicians. Victims of medical malpractice may benefit from the professional representation provided by a qualified attorney.

Source:  www.bnd.com, "Jury awards multi-million dollar verdict in medical malpractice case" Beth Hundsdorfer, Nov. 21, 2013

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