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Thorton v. Garcini, M.D., No. 107028 (10-29-09) affirmed that expert testimony is not required to prove negligent infliction of emotional distress. Based on personal experience alone, jury could reasonably find that circumstances caused emotional distress, when plaintiff’s deceased infant remained partially delivered for one hour ten minutes while plaintiff waited for defendant physician to arrive at hospital. This Illinois case will greatly impact medical malpractice law.

Walsh v. Chez, Nos. 08-1006 & 08-1522 (10/21/09) was a medical malpractice action arising out of treatment of plaintiff’s autistic son. The District Court was found to have abused its discretion in dismissing plaintiffs’ lawsuit after finding that reports of plaintiffs’ two expert witnesses were insufficient with respect to establishing standard of care. Instant reports conformed to requirements of Rule 26(a)(2)(B) where experts opined that defendants’ abrupt discontinuation of prednisone was not consistent with relevant standard of care. Moreover said reports gave defendants enough information to give them opportunity to rebut experts’ opinions. Also, any flaws in experts’ reports went to weight of evidence as opposed to admissibility. This seventh circuit case will greatly impact Illinois medical malpractice law.

Dienstag v. Margolis, No. 1-06-1558 (9-30-09) affirmed that the trial court properly denied motion for JNOV or new trial on jury verdict of $5.95 million (reduced to $5.45 on remittitur) for failure to diagnose breast cancer case. Defendant physician was not prejudiced by one instance in which plaintiff’s retained expert referred to plaintiff’s attorney, who is also a physician, as “Dr. Chessick”, as it was done inadvertently, and defendant declined an offer of instruction for jury to disregard it. Conflicting expert testimony on standard of care and breach thereof is not evidence that so overwhelmingly favors defendant that no contrary verdict could stand. Defendant waived issue o f improper statements during closing arguments by not then objecting to counsel’s personal attacks on defendant. This Illinois case will impact medical malpractice cases.

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.

Tedrick v. Community Resource Center, Nos. 104861 & 104876 (9-24-09) revered a case stating that the nonpatient status of decedent, who was killed by husband with history of psychiatric problems, meant that defendant mental health providers had no duty to decedent, and had not voluntarily undertaken any duty; and husband and wife’s relationship did not constitute “special relationship” which could transfer defendants’ duties of care from husband to decedent. This case will impact medical malpractice cases in Illinois.

Thomas v. Koe, No. 4-08-0705 (9-21-09) stated that the trial court erred in granting motion in limine to exclude reference to IDFPR investigation related to care in question, where defendant dentist refused to allow investigator in his office after arriving unannounced to inspect his sterilization equipment. Under “same-part-of-the-body” rule, trial court should have barred testimony that plaintiff’s tonsillitis, use of alcohol, and diabetes could have contributed to plaintiff’s severe infection which developed following tooth extraction. Finding of direct criminal contempt proper where plaintiff’s counsel violated in limine order barring reference to IDFPR investigation; counsel’s strong belief that ruling was in error irrelevant. This case will impact dental malpractice cases.

Smith v. Pavlovich, No. 5-08-0256 (9-10-09) affirmed that the granting of motion in limine and directed verdicts as to Defendant advanced practice nurse were proper; the pediatrician was not qualified to testify as to standard of care for nurse as he was not licensed as advanced practice nurse; no other expert was offered; and the nurse herself testified that she met standard of care. The directed verdict was properly granted in favor of Defendant physicians as they were not involved in any medical decisions as to child who later died from bacterial meningitis, and thus owed no duty to the child. One Defendant physician’s answer to Complaint that he undertook to provide diagnosis, care, and treatment to child was insufficient, in context of allegations of Complaint, to be deemed judicial admission that physician-patient relationship existed at time of alleged acts of negligence. This Illinois case will impact medical malpractice cases.

Matthews v. Aganad, No. 1-08-0499 (9-4-09) affirmed that a trial court within its discretion in denying motion for judgment n.o.v., as Plaintiffs’ experts offered no credible alternative standard of care for administration of vaccine to plaintiff, but only argued against using CDC guidelines as standard of care. Plaintiffs failed to establish proximate cause, and no “lost chance” because giving vaccine was contraindicated in Plaintiff’s case due to presence of fever. This Illinois case will have a great affect on medical malpractice cases.

Public 96-765 amends the the Health Care Surrogate Act affecting Do-Not-Resuscitate orders. It makes three changes: (1) Requires only one witness instead of two. (2) Requires that the witness attest that the person executing the DNR order was given an opportunity to read the form and either signed the form or acknowledged his or her signature or mark on the form in the witness’s presence. (3) Changes the language from “DNR” order to “do-not-resuscitate” order. This Illinois bill which comes into effect January 1, 2010 will effect medical malpractice cases.

Cookson v. Price, No. 3-08-0669 (8/1//09) reversed and remanded a medical malpractice action against physical therapy assistant, complaint dismissed as initial Section 2-622 report from physical medicine and rehabilitation physician found non-compliant with Section 2-622. Trial court erred in dismissing complaint, and denying Plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint with new section 2-622 report from physical therapy assistant. This Illinois case will impact medical malpractice.

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