Not Guilty after multiple cardiothoracic surgeries and month long hospitalization

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Counsel: Anne Scrivner Kuban and Krista Frick
Demand: None
Asked: $6.1 million
Outcome: Not Guilty

The decedent (M-25) was shot three times in the chest and neck area. He was taken to the hospital where he was admitted and monitored. A bronchoscopy and bronchial lavage were performed and a CT scan confirmed there were no air leaks and chest x-rays were clear. Over the course of three weeks, several more surgeries were performed due to internal bleeding and bleeding through the tracheostomy site. On March 24, the decedent underwent an emergency repair of a left lower lobe pulmonary artery pseudoaneurysm, an extremely rare but recognized complication of a gunshot wound. Subsequent surgeries including a partial lobectomy were performed on March 25th and 27th. The decedent died on March 31, 2006. He was unmarried, survived by four children ($750,000 medl., $25,000 LT per year as truck driver).

The estate contended that the surgeon failed to diagnose the source of infection and should have removed the infected lung. The defense argued that the care and treatment received was reasonable and appropriate and within the standard of care. The defense further contended that the cause of death was due to the multiple gunshot wounds as opposed to medical negligence. The autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and classified the manner of death as a homicide.