October 2013 
Illinois: HPS Defense Victory for Suburban Hospital in Alleged Wrongful Death Case
 
Partners David Hall and Ronitha Maharaj along with associate Krista Luzio and paralegal Laura Arendsen successfully defended a suburban hospital and its nurses against wrongful death claims involving a 66 year-old patient who died following a respiratory arrest suffered during a colonoscopy and EGD procedure. Plaintiff alleged that the hospital employed nurses and codefendant gastroenterologist failed to appreciate the significance of the patient's preexisting sleep apnea and need for fiberoptic intubation during a surgery 12 years prior. Plaintiff argued at trial that the patient suffered a respiratory arrest due to the combined effects of the conscious sedation given for the procedure and the patient's preexisting sleep apnea and that there was an extended resuscitation because the nurses and GI physician failed to communicate the prior use of fiberoptic intubation to the responding code team. Defendants argued that the patient was appropriate for conscious sedation and that the cause of the arrest was an unexpected, spontaneous laryngospasm unrelated to the sedative medications or her sleep apnea. Further, the code physicians performed their own independent assessment of the airway and did make multiple attempts to intubate with a fiberoptic scope that were unsuccessful. Prior to trial, the codefendant gastroenterologist entered into a high - low settlement agreement that made the hospital and its nurses a primary target in this trial. After under two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant hospital and the defendant GI physician.