$4 Million University of Chicago Medical Malpractice Settlement

June 20, 2013

Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins announce a recent $4 million settlement with the University of Chicago Medical Center for one of our clients.

University of C.jpg In the fall of 2007, our client, a 21-year-old woman, went to the U of C emergency room with a severe headache. The woman was born with a condition that required her to have a shunt implanted in her brain to drain cerebral spinal fluid from.

Throughout her childhood, the shunt often malfunctioned, which physically manifested through severe headaches. Previously, whenever a shunt malfunctioned, the woman would go to the UC medical center where her neurosurgeon would perform procedures to replace the shunt and in turn alleviate her headaches.

The day she entered the UC emergency room, instead of scheduling her for surgery, doctors simply gave her a dose of pain medication and told her to return if her pain worsened. She returned to the ER later that afternoon, when she was finally diagnosed with a malfunctioning shunt.

University of Chicago doctors scheduled her brain surgery for four days later and admitted her to the medical center, however, she remained in the ER for three days because there were not any open beds in the neurological intensive care unit. During those three days, her neurosurgeon, who had treated the woman since she was a young child, failed to ever come check on or personally examine her.

That night, one day before she scheduled brain surgery, the woman suffered a brain stem herniation, which occurs when cerebral fluid, brain tissue, and blood vessels are moved or pressed away from their normal position. The herniation was directly caused by the lapse of time between admittance and surgery.

Finally, doctors performed emergency brain surgery on the woman, however, by this time it was too late to reverse her brain damage. The young woman subsequently fell into a deep coma, unable to move or communicate with her family at all. She remained in the coma for twelve months, until November 2008, when she passed away.

Her family filed a lawsuit against the University of Chicago almost immediately. Prior to this tragic incident, the woman led a happy, normal life, was attending college, and dreamed of becoming an attorney. Her passing was the direct result of her long-time physician's failure to promptly and adequately address her malfunctioning shunt. Although nothing can bring the young woman back to her family, we are proud to be able to assist them obtain some kind of justice for her untimely death.

Another wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Chicago Medical Center also recently settled, this one in the amount of $10 million. This case focused on the death of former Chicago Sun-Times publisher and businessman James Tyree.

The 53-year-old died in 2011 following a dialysis procedure, which created an air-embolism when a catheter was removed. Both metastatic stomach cancer and pneumonia were listed as secondary causes of death. An air embolism can only be treated if it is quickly recognized and promptly stopped. In this case, the embolism was neither recognized nor treated in a timely manner, directly causing Tyree's death. Air embolisms after or during removal of a catheter can be prevented by a number of simple measures, which physicians at the University of Chicago failed to take.

Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins have decades of experience advocating on behalf of victims of medical negligence and their families. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by medical or dental malpractice, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation.