Not guilty in failure to treat syncope episode.

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Counsel: Patricia J. Barker and Heather T. Gilbert
Outcome: Not Guilty

Plaintiff was being seen by defendant primarily for control of his hypertension, increased cholesterol and glaucoma. He was taking the drug Verampamil to lower his blood pressure. After a motor vehicle accident, Plaintiff was hospitalized for his injury. Defendant obtained neurology and cardiology consults to determine the cause of Plaintiff’s syncope. After a tilt table exam was performed, a diagnosis of vasodepressor induced syncope was made.

Plaintiff alleged negligence in that they failed to properly evaluate Plaintiff for a syncopal episode; failed to recognize that Plaintiff was an unstable patient requiring admission to the hospital; failed to properly evaluate Plaintiff for a possible seizure disorder; failed to “impress upon” Plaintiff the need for hospitalization; failed to advise Plaintiff to stop driving. Defendants contended that it was appropriate for defendant to consider both a neurologic and cardiac cause for the previous syncopal episode; the standard of care did not require hospitalization for a single isolated episode of syncope; the follow-up instructions and testing were appropriate; and one episode of patient reported syncope did not qualify a patient as “unstable.” Further, the treatment of Plaintiff’s hypertension was appropriate and Plaintiff was noncompliant with various instructions given by defendant.