March 2014 
Chicago: HPS Successfully Defends Wrongful Death Case

Partner Ben Patterson and Associate Matt McElligott successfully defended Rush Oak Park Hospital in a wrongful death case involving a 76 year old woman who presented to the Emergency Department with complaints of abdominal pain.  The patient was diagnosed with and treated for GERD rather than being worked up for a potential cardiac issue.  Unfortunately, while the patient was being discharged, she suddenly arrested and died.  Although no autopsy was performed, the parties agreed that most likely the patient experienced sudden cardiac arrest based upon her multiple risk factors for cardiac disease.  Plaintiff claimed that the ER doctor failed to appropriately evaluate the patient's symptoms and diagnose her cardiac condition.  Defendants contended that the ER doctor's decision to forego a cardiac work-up beyond an EKG based on the history and physical was reasonable and complied with the standard of care.  Furthermore, the patient's association of the symptoms with eating was more consistent with a GI complaint than a cardiac process, as was her report of relief following the administration of a GI cocktail.  After 12 hours of deliberating, the Jury was hung by a count of 10-2.  The parties agreed to accept a 10-2 verdict, resulting in a verdict on behalf of Defendants.