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Case Law Update: Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice

Cummings v. Jha, No. 5-08-0182 (9-25-09) affirmed that a breach of standard of care was shown where experts testified that a reasonably competent surgeon would have investigated for surgical complication, and need to determine, in a patient with recent gallbladder surgery, whether there was biloma or bile leak, when patient wrote, on office intake form, that he was having chest pain which he related to his gallbladder surgery. Proximate cause was established via an expert and treating physicians’ testimony that if certain tests had been done and biloma detected prior to rupture, it would have been easily treatable. Plaintiff was entitled to recover value of time lost from work, even though employer allowed sick time to be used for absence. This Illinois case will impact medical malpractice law.