Besides taking on Illinois birth injury cases, attorneys at our firm work in a range of others areas. In particularly we spent a lot of time helping victims of Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse hold their negligent caregivers and the facilities involved accountable. When discussing nursing home abuse and neglect issues we often mention that there is an unfortunate cone of silence that often exists around the mistreatment. Many more cases of mistreatment occur than are ever reported, because the victims fear the consequences of speaking out, are ashamed of the situation, or embarrassed that they are in a position to be mistreated. Simply getting victims to come forward remains a big challenge in that area.
The problem is much less prevalent in the medical malpractice context. More often than not patients and their families have suspicions when an error is made and they are less inclined to have natural fear or embarrassment about demanding accountability when appropriate. However, there are certain situations where the same feelings of fear or embarrassment might play a role in having a victim fail to come forward. The area that comes to mind most is related to birth injuries-abortion cases. Obviously there remains tremendous disagreement across the country when it comes to abortion laws. However, at the end of the day, that does not mean that medical professionals who perform these operations are not held to the same legal standards as all other medical professionals. There are very real risks of harm faced by mothers in these situations, and when actual harm is caused by a botched procedure then victims have the right to come forward and seek redress.
That is exactly what happened in a recent case highlighted this week by the Clarion Ledger. A woman visited a female health clinic a few years ago to have the procedure performed. In the middle of the procedure, for reasons that are not exactly clear, the doctor involved stopped and told the women that she would have to come back later to have it completed by another doctor. Confused, the woman left the clinic. The doctor failed to advise the woman, who was a diabetic, that she would take antibiotics. As a result, it wasn’t long before she began to experience serious medical problems. She started bleeding, cramping up, was sick, and felt dizzy. The problem eventually led her to suffer sepsis poisoning which threw her into a coma for a week and a half.
The woman was lucky to survive the ordeal, and afterwards she and her husband filed a lawsuit against the involved doctor and clinic. Surprisingly, no one representing the defendants showed up on the day that the trial was set to take place. As a result, the judge issued a default judgment in the case. When that occurs, all of the claims made by the plaintiff are presumed to be true. In issuing the default judgment the court awarded the family roughly $600,000 for their losses. Unfortunately, as is often the case when default judgments are issued, the family will likely have a prolonged fight to actually collect that award. The company is the suit has apparently dissolved and the clinic is now run under different owners.
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