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Smith and VanRheeden Obtain Directed Verdict for General Surgeon in Peoria County

Quinn Johnston attorneys Matthew Smith and JD VanRheeden obtained a directed verdict for an attending general surgeon and his practice group in a recent medical malpractice case in Peoria County.

The case arose out of the management of a patient admitted to the hospital shortly after suffering a liver bleed following a liver biopsy. Roughly 48 hours after admission, the patient arrested, ultimately succumbing to his injuries days later. The defendant surgeon was accused of negligently failing to communicate with his resident surgeons and consulting services, of failing to appropriately monitor the patient, and of failing to ensure that the patient’s liver bleed received timely and proper treatment by interventional radiology. Plaintiff brought similar allegations against the hospital, its employed general surgery residents, and an interventional radiology fellow, as well as an agency claim against the radiology group employing the attending interventional radiologist.

At trial, Plaintiff alternatively argued that either the attending general physician knew of the patient’s deteriorating condition and failed to act to ensure timely interventional radiology treatment OR that the surgical residents failed to properly communicate the patient’s status to the attending general surgeon. Smith and VanRheeden countered that the attending general surgeon exercised appropriate clinical judgment based on the information provided to him.

Smith and VanRheeden filed a motion for directed verdict at the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case in chief, arguing that Plaintiff’s general surgery expert failed to properly define the standard of care applicable to a general surgeon in the same or similar circumstances. The motion was granted on the eleventh day of trial following oral arguments. Accordingly, a directed verdict was entered in favor of the attending general surgeon and his practice group. A directed verdict was also entered in favor of the surgical residents based on an identical motion. A directed verdict was also entered in favor of the radiology group based on Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the statute of limitations in filing an amended complaint.

The case proceeded to verdict against the hospital and its interventional radiology fellow. Plaintiff asked the jury for $4.38 million in closing. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff in that amount after approximately 80 minutes of deliberations.

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