Department of Public Health Plans to Remove License from Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, Federal Funding Revoked

Without federal funding from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and a facility license provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Chicago Lakeshore Hospital may finally pay for its continued failures in compliance by jeopardizing patient health and safety. CMS recently announced it would terminate a Medicare agreement, which provides accompanying federal funding to the psychiatric hospital formerly known as Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, and IDPH released plans to revoke the facility’s license. Both agencies cited ongoing allegations of abuse, safety violations, and deficiencies that threaten the overall wellbeing of patients as the cause.

  • Chicago Lakeshore Hospital is a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city.

Woman’s Estate Wins $8.1 Million For Failed Cancer Diagnosis and Wrongful Death, Represented by Levin & Perconti

In 2016, Levin & Perconti attorneys John J. Perconti, Michael F. Bonamarte IV and Daniel A. Goldfaden filed a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a woman who should have been diagnosed with cancer when she was first X-rayed in 2013. It wasn’t until doctors at another hospital diagnosed her with stage 3 lung cancer in October 2014 that her illness was known. The delayed diagnosis caused Althea Wright’s disease to progress and go untreated. Sadly, she later died in 2015 at the age of 68. The suit was filed on behalf of Wright’s two children.

During a week-long trial in December 2019, a Cook County jury determined the estate of the deceased radiologist, Palmer Jane Blakley, MD, and the corporation tied to her closed practice must pay $8.125 million to remedy the missed cancer diagnosis. Blakley reviewed Wright’s scans, which showed a “rounded density” in her left lung, but she did not identify the mass or note any abnormality in Wright’s chart.

Legionella-Related Cases Being Investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage

Becker’s Hospital Review is reporting that three individual cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage in Winfield, Illinois. According to the report, one individual was an inpatient at Central DuPage, while the other two had outpatient visits.

In Illinois, state and local health departments typically take the lead in investigating possible Legionella cases but may request help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when necessary, such as during an outbreak. In 2018, state health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a rate which has grown by nearly nine times since 2000.

Legalized Marijuana

Patient Harm at the Hands of Impaired Clinicians

Many reports on the issue of drug and alcohol use among those in the medical profession have found that substance abuse is widespread. However, rigorous standards are in place to keep patients safe from negligently “high” doctors. But recently adding to the issue is the possible impact the legalization of sales and recreational use of marijuana in Illinois may have on a physician’s performance. Undoubtedly, some doctors and health care professionals are likely to take a personal interest in the consumption of legal pot, especially as environmental triggers and workplace stressors commonly felt by overworked medical professionals are known to drive a person toward chemical or substance dependencies.

We hope that these practitioners appreciate the boundaries related to performing the duty of care owed to their patients and that they understand some users may be incapable of fulfilling that duty and as a result – cause harm to their patients.

MRI Recommendations

Lack of Physician Compliance Identified After Radiologist Suggests Secondary Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive test used to diagnose and detect medical conditions, especially those that impact the joints, spine and soft tissues such as muscles and tendons. Once the imaging is complete, a radiologist, a doctor who is trained to review the exam images, will send a signed report to the patient’s primary care or referring physician with recommendations for diagnosis or treatment. The treating physician will then share the results with their patient and explain if a follow-up exam or further evaluation is required.

Common use for MRI is to diagnose or evaluate musculoskeletal injuries or diseases:

Struggling Hospitals

Chicago Hospitals Fall Behind in Safety and Quality Rankings

According to The Leapfrog Group’s bi-annual list of hospital grades based on hospital survey results, several Chicago hospitals received the highest grade for overall safety and quality. Still, surprisingly, some of the city’s top hospitals didn’t make this session’s cut. Leapfrog sends the survey to hospitals in which the group said about 2,100 participated. Hospitals were asked about specific measures for example related to hand hygiene, intensive care unit physician staffing, bedsores and falls, C-section rates, rates of episiotomies during childbirth, and radiation doses for pediatric patients during CT scans. Based on the feedback provided, including a review of health insurance information, the non-profit then assigned each hospital with a grade of A through F.

Illinois’ hospitals that received an A grade in the Fall 2019 report, include:

Wounded Soldier

A Win for Military Members, But Feres Doctrine Still Deserves Full Overturn

Typically, it has been too late for injured military members and their families to find out they can’t hold the Department of Defense (DoD) accountable if they became injured or permanently disabled under the Feres Doctrine. But things are changing. In December, Congress partially overturned Feres, an outdated law which prohibits troops from filing negligence lawsuits against the military. The lawmakers voted on a defense authorization bill that allows victims to file claims in cases of medical malpractice stemming from care received in military hospitals for the first time in nearly 70 years, but unfortunately, still not in other circumstances related to military negligence.

Under this new compromise language, recovery under the Military Claims Act will be expanded to include active duty military with medical malpractice claims from military treatment facilities. More specifically, the American Association for Justice says the bill would do the following:

Drugs and Money

New Report Uncovers Trend in Profitable Prescription Drug Practices

A new data report compiled by independent newsroom ProPublica has concluded that doctors who receive money from pharmaceutical companies are more inclined to prescribe that specific drug “more heavily than doctors without such financial ties.” The researchers determined that the trend was noted for 50 popular and expensive brand-name drugs covered by Medicare Part D, including medicines that treat diabetes, glaucoma, asthma, constipation, cholesterol and other common ailments. A ProPublica article released on December 20 stated that “the financial interactions include payments for delivering promotional talks, consulting and receiving sponsored meals and travel.”

A Recap of ProPublica’s Findings

Which doctor is best for you?

How to Find Out If an Illinois Doctor Has A Bad Record

Many people feel comfortable choosing a doctor based on friendly feedback provided by family and friends, or coworkers who have the same health insurer’s network. But that information doesn’t always provide details on whether or not the doctor is currently holding a professional license or has a bad rap sheet related to criminal convictions, medical errors, issues with prescribing controlled substances, or if they were found guilty of providing negligent care in another state.

Unfortunately, in Illinois, historical disciplinary documents are not easily accessed online by the state. Still, you may view a shortlist of monthly enforcements against workers who have had their licenses revoked by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. These are just a few examples of the most recent (October 2019) licensing enforcements against Illinois health care workers:

Rights of veterans

Green Beret’s Case Weakens Feres Doctrine, Will Allow Military Members to Receive Compensation for Malpractice Injuries

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, served in the military for 14 years and was a member of the Green Berets. He is now fighting stage 4 terminal cancer after his military doctors at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg misdiagnosed his illness despite noticing a tumor in his lung. Stayskal attempted to sue the Department of Defense for medical malpractice but was met with the Feres doctrine. The law is based on 70-year-old Supreme Court decision that says active-duty military members are not able to make a claim against the government. Luckily, Stayskal’s ongoing fight alongside congressional lawmakers will help change that.

On Monday, December 16, 2019, a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was released including an amendment that will allow for members of the country’s armed forces to now file a claim against the U.S. and receive compensation if they were subjected to negligent or wrongful medical treatment at a military facility.

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