Defense against Medical Negligence Claims
Healthcare professionals and representatives of medical facilities dedicate their life’s work to provide medical services that are restorative, life-giving and focused on improving the health and well-being of their patients. Yet, medical outcomes are not always as positive as expected, sometimes forcing practitioners to defend themselves and their profession in a court of law.
At Quinn Johnston, our team of medical malpractice lawyers represents doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physician’s assistants, physical therapists, nursing home attendants, pharmacists, medical groups, hospitals and other medical professionals throughout downstate Illinois whose careers are threatened by potentially devastating lawsuits. We choose only the best medical consultants and expert witnesses to assure the best possible representation in court for our clients.
Our firm has many years of experience defending against all types of medical negligence claims in downstate Illinois. These claims involve issues such as:
- Birth injuries (placental abruption, fetomaternal hemorrhage, Group B strep infections, complications from forceps or vacuum extraction deliveries, complications from delivering twins, shoulder dystocia)
- Failure to detect cancer (melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer screening, bladder cancer)
- Medical staff credentialing issues for hospitals
- Complications from surgery (bile duct injury from laparoscopic cholecystectomy, bowel perforation, retained foreign objects, facial nerve injury following thyroidectomy)
- Anesthesia induced injuries (tracheal perforation, nerve injury, neurologic effects of anesthesia, coronary arrest and anaphylaxis)
- Pulmonary embolus and deep vein thrombosis
- Internal medicine issues (mismanagement of pancreatitis, diabetes)
- Emergency medicine issues (failure to diagnose acute coronary syndrome, infections, neurologic disorders displayed on CT or MRI, failure to diagnose stroke)
- Pediatric or neonatal issues (intussusception, volvulus, fluid overloads, placement of catheters and IV’s)
- Nursing home issues (bed sores, elopement, falls resulting in hip fractures and other injuries)
- Nursing outcomes (failure to report, failure to use chain of command, documentation)
- Res ipsa loquitor
A Team of Legal Healthcare Professionals
Our commitment to effective communication with our clients and an understanding of the technical aspects of their profession is what sets Quinn Johnston apart. We employ a team of lawyers, both partners and associates, who concentrate their practice within the area of professional liability defense, and support those lawyers with a staff of nursing professionals who provide invaluable insight into medical malpractice and healthcare law.
Quinn Johnston is committed to protecting the rights and interests of healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry. We represent not only the individual health care practitioner, but also hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare facilities in matters related to healthcare law. Our lawyers work with clients regarding: issues of confidentiality and medical record production (including HIPAA and HITECH compliance); physician credentialing including intra-hospital hearings and appeals; development and interpretation of medical staff bylaws, policies, and procedures; EMTALA compliance; Stark law issues; CMS reporting guidelines; representation of practitioners before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Registration; National Practitioner Data Bank and state reporting procedures; violence in the workplace; and employment issues including Title VI and ADA concerns.
Successful Medical Malpractice Defense Strategy
Quinn Johnston takes pride in our high success rate in the defense of medical professional liability claims. Our attorneys can handle any size of medical malpractice case. We have experience defending against high-exposure cases involving high compensatory damages and non-economic damages. We understand that jurors commonly feel sympathy for injured plaintiffs, and we know how to counter those biases with strong defenses based on facts.
We work with our clients throughout the central two-thirds of Illinois and their professional liability insurers to obtain positive results efficiently and cost-effectively. Our attorneys have experience resolving cases in a variety of manners, including jury trial, motion practice, settlement negotiation, and mediation. We routinely prefer a unified defense over filing cross-claims or third-party claims against other healthcare providers.
Strong Representation Before the IDFPR
In addition to representing clients in court, Quinn Johnston’s attorneys have also represented doctors before the IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation) after settlements were reported. All medical professionals are entitled to aggressive and effective representation before the IDFPR, even after having lost or settled a medical negligence claim. We aim to obtain a fair resolution in every IDFPR case in which we are involved. Our clients have a great deal at stake in this type of hearing, and strong representation with realistic expectations is necessary. We bring the same common sense approach to these cases as we do to the courtroom.
Defense Verdict in Brain Damaged Baby/Maternal Death Medical Malpractice Lawsuit: Our client was an obstetrician who admitted his 38-week pregnant patient to the hospital for observation for pregnancy induced hypertension. Five hours into the admission, the patient went into respiratory arrest, seized and suffered cardiac arrest. Resuscitation efforts met with limited success, in that the patient’s heart rate was restored and lost several times during the code, during which the obstetrician performed a perimortem Cesarean section delivery. Once the mother was eventually stabilized, she was transferred to another hospital where she passed away 17 days later. Her baby sustained a brain injury from hypoxia during delivery. We defended the case on the standard of care issues, as well as on causation, claiming that the event was the result of an unforeseeable amniotic fluid embolus. A two-week jury trial resulted in a defense verdict for the obstetrician, on both the wrongful death claim and the claim of brain damage to the infant.
General Surgeon Not Negligent in Failure to Discover Perforation: The plaintiff in this Coles County case was a 20-year-old college student who came to the hospital’s emergency department with complaints of abdominal pain. An exploratory laparotomy failed to uncover a posterior gastric ulcer that went undiagnosed for another four days, resulting in lengthy hospital stays, medical bills exceeding $350,000 and substantial abdominal scarring. Plaintiff asked for $1.5 million from the jury. The case resulted in a defense verdict, in favor of the surgeon.
Trial of Emergency Physician for Missing an Acute MI Results in Defense Verdict: The plaintiff’s decedent presented to the emergency department with atypical chest pain. After appropriate testing and in consultation with the patient’s primary care physician, the defendant doctor discharged the patient from the emergency department. The patient passed away the following day from dissecting pericardial tamponade. After listening to evidence in a two week jury trial and receiving the plaintiff’s attorney’s request for damages in the amount of $1.5 million, the jury returned a verdict for the doctor.
Neurosurgeon’s Discectomy Failed: Not Negligent: The plaintiff claimed our client was negligent in beginning a cervical discectomy at an incorrect level and also negligent in choosing a posterior approach rather than an anterior approach. Plaintiff had two subsequent cervical surgeries which she claimed were caused by our client’s negligence, and she claimed permanent and total disability. Plaintiff’s attorney asked $750,000 from the jury. The jury found in favor of our client on all claims of negligence.
Primary Care Physician Not Negligent in Failing to Diagnose Melanoma: Plaintiff in this Rock Island case claimed that her husband came to the defendant, a primary care physician, with specific complaints of a discolored area on his upper arm. The physician treated that area and a number of other moles with cryotherapy. Most of the areas responded well, with the exception of the upper arm. Eventually a diagnosis of melanoma was made, which could not be treated successfully because of its advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. We defended the case by showing that the diagnosis of melanoma is difficult to make, and that it could not be said that earlier treatment would have resulted in a better outcome. Plaintiff asked for $3.2 million in damages. The jury returned a no-liability verdict in favor of the doctor.
Dentist Not Guilty in Informed Consent Trial: The plaintiff was a new patient of the defendant’s dental office. She came to him when the bridge which had replaced her upper front teeth came loose and fell out. After her x-ray showed additional problems, Defendant extracted all remaining upper teeth and lower teeth, and provided the patient with a full set of dentures. Plaintiff sued, claiming she had not been advised of reasonable treatment options other than complete extractions and full upper/lower dentures. The Macon County jury found for the defendant.
Dismissal for Emergency Physician in Double Amputation Jury Trial: The plaintiff in this Rock Island County case was a 26 year-old woman who came to the hospital for pelvic pain. She was seen and released, but before a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection was made. Culture of her urine grew out bacteria, but the hospital failed to follow up with her on those results. She returned several days later to be seen by a second emergency physician who diagnosed the UTI, but who did not start antibiotics promptly. The patient began to develop clots secondary to DIC, and eventually both legs were amputated below the knees. We defended the second emergency physician who was dismissed voluntarily on the fourth day of trial when the hospital settled the case for an undisclosed amount. Plaintiff’s attorney promised the jury in opening statements that he was seeking a damages award of $20 million.
No Physician-Patient Relationship Leads to Summary Judgment: The firm represented a hematologist who had been on call at the local hospital for hematologic consultations as needed. He was called near midnight about a patient newly admitted to the ICU with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. After discussing the case with the physician requesting the consultation, he informed the caller that he would see the patient the following morning. The patient died shortly after the phone call. Quinn Johnston obtained summary judgment in favor of the hematologist, establishing that there had not yet been a physician-patient relationship established at the time of the telephone consultation. The case proceeded to jury trial without the hematologist as a defendant, with a resulting verdict for the plaintiff against the remaining defendants in the amount of $1.6 million.
Surgeon Found Not Negligent Despite Serious Post-Op Complications: In this Peoria County jury trial, the plaintiff/patient underwent removal of her gallbladder and a hernia repair by our client, the defendant surgeon. Because of prior radiation therapy had left extensive abdominal adhesions, the surgery was a difficult one. The patient returned to the hospital the same day she was discharged, complaining of continued abdominal pain. An exploratory surgery uncovered a bowel perforation, a complication that eventually led to resection of much of the intestine, multiple and prolonged hospitalizations, and permanent complications from short bowel syndrome. Plaintiff’s attorney asked for $22.2 million in closing arguments. The Peoria County jury found in favor of the surgeon and awarded no damages.
Defense Verdict in Psychiatric Malpractice Trial. The plaintiff attempted suicide by jumping from a parking garage, sustaining injuries that left him a quadriplegic. He filed suit against his physician claiming negligence for failing to agree to admit the patient to the hospital shortly before the suicide attempt. Plaintiff asked for $4 million from the jury who instead returned a verdict in favor of the physician.
Jury Finds Surgeons Not-Guilty in Gastric Bypass Trial: Our client performed a gastric bypass surgery for his patient which became complicated by post-operative bleeding and a need for surgical re-exploration and repair of an anastomosis. During the re-exploration, plaintiff suffered an air embolus and further complications. Eventually sepsis set in and the patient arrested, leaving him with profound neurologic injuries. Plaintiff asked the jury for an award of $9 million. The jury returned a verdict for all defendants.
About Quinn Johnston
Quinn Johnston was featured by Fortune Legal Marketplace as a 2013 Top Ranked Law Firm based on Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent ratings for ethical standards and legal ability. Several of our attorneys have also been named as Leading Lawyers by their peers in the Leading Lawyers Network. We represent clients throughout Central Illinois, including in Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, the Quad Cities, Champaign-Urbana and their surrounding areas. Our experienced litigators strongly defend clients while maintaining a high level of professionalism and ethical standards.