An Illinois jury has awarded the family of a 75-year-old man $1.1 million after the man died following a procedure at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center. The trial was cited to happen in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
The Wrongful Death of Lawrence Powder
According to a lawsuit brought by widowed Carol Powder, her husband, Lawrence Powder, was experiencing chest pains after showing snow in December of 2017. Upon seeking medical attention, he underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure performed by Dr. Jan Skowronski, an employee of OSF Multi-Specialty Group, which runs the hospital.
The complaint alleged that Skowronski used an uncommon imagine procedure, known as optical coherence tomography, that required multiple catheter positioning requests. As a result, Powder suffered a large, fatal tear in one of his arteries.
In addition to performing the uncommon procedure, the Powder family claims Skowronski failed to obtain informed consent and did not properly manage Lawrence Powder’s condition.
The Powder estate, represented by Keith A. Hebeisen and Sara F. King of Clifford Law Offices, took the claim in front of a jury. Based on the evidence, the jury found OSF Multi-Specialty liable for professional negligence. As such, the jury awarded Carol Powder $900,000 for loss of society and $200,000 for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
This was the first civil jury verdict in Winnebago County in 16 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release responding to the verdict, Hebeisen said, “I was impressed by the measures that Judge [Lisa] Fabiano, Chief Judge Eugene Doherty, and the court personnel of Winnebago undertook to make sure that all safety precautions were in place so this trial could go forward. […] Mr. Powder’s family was afforded the justice they deserved, and these jurors took their duty very seriously. We must continue to make every effort to ensure that all those who have been injured get their day in court without further delay.”
It is unclear if OSF multi-Specialty Group will file an appeal. In a statement, Karen Brodbeck, vice president of brand management of OSF HealthCare, which owns OSF Multi-Specialty Group, said, “We respect our court system and believe in its ability to resolve issues even though we disagree with this particular outcome. Our deep commitment to those we serve is unwavering.”
Medical Malpractice in Illinois
When doctors are negligent, legal recourse is an option. Unfortunately, it’s often challenging for victims of medical malpractice to pursue compensation, but it’s not impossible.
In terms of compensation, according to Diederich Healthcare, over $300 million was paid out to medical malpractice claims just in Illinois in 2014. The total paid out to people all over the United States for that same year was over $4 billion.
When it comes to specialties that are accused of medical malpractice claims, surgery is at the top of the list. However, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, general practice, and anesthesiology are also at the top.
Common malpractice allegations include diagnosis, surgery, treatment, obstetrics, medication, and anesthesia. In 28% of cases, the injury sustained was fatal. Other outcomes included significant permanent injury, major permanent injury, paralysis, brain damage, lifelong care, minor permanent injury, and major temporary injury.
In Illinois, medical malpractice cases need to be filed with two years of the date on which the prospective plaintiff discovered a health care professional’s negligence caused their injury. Depending on the situation and the patient’s age, however, the plaintiff could have four or upwards of eight years to pursue a claim.
Illinois medical malpractice plaintiffs are also required to submit an Affidavit of Merit when they file a lawsuit. This involves consulting a health care professional who is knowledgeable in the applicable area of medicine, practices or teaches pertinent medicine, and has experience in the lawsuit’s subject matter.
If you’re worried about pursuing a claim, it’s best to work with an experienced attorney. They will be able to investigate your injury, find the right medical expert for your claim, and build a case that proves you were wronged.
Injured? Contact Thomas Law Offices
When you place your trust in a medical professional only to be harmed, you deserve the best possible chance at recovery. At Thomas Law Offices, we understand how it can be to even consider legal action when you’re dealing with injuries. But we’re here to help.
If you’re looking to file a medical malpractice claim or you’re curious about your legal rights and options, schedule a free consultation with our law firm today.