Medical Malpractice Cases
The following is a sample of the medical malpractice cases tried to verdict in which Charles Schmidt represented the primary defendant(s):
- 2003 – Jackson County
A Carbondale internist was sued by the widow of a middle-aged man that died as a result of a massive saddle embolus. He had been hospitalized for an extended period of time. It was claimed that indications of small pulmonary infarctions were not recognized before the massive embolism occurred. The doctor claimed that this was an unexpected and unpredictable complication. Defense verdict.
- 2003 – Williamson County
A Marion urologist was sued by the family of an elderly decedent who had a sudden idiosyncratic reaction to IV dye that extravasated while performing a cystogram. It was claimed that the urethra was punctured while inserting a catheter and that a different type of dye should have been used. The urologist claimed that the urethra had been injured by others unbeknownst to him and that the dye he used was appropriate for this procedure. Defense verdict.
- 2006 – Marion County
A Centralia surgeon was sued by a young women who claimed she had unexpected complications following placement of breast implants. An infection developed which did not respond to a couple of debridement procedures, requiring that the implant be removed for a couple of months and then replaced once the infection had resolved. The physician contended that such infections are known complications not resulting from negligence and that the condition was, eventually, successfully treated. Defense verdict.
- 2007 – Williamson County
A Marion internist was sued by the husband of a young women that died as a result of a massive pulmonary embolism. She had undertaken care with the physician a couple of weeks before her death for non specific complaints that were diagnosed as bronchitis. She had been placed on birth control pills shortly before, which plaintiff claimed increased the risk for PE and thus should have been included in the differential diagnosis. The internist contended that the patient’s gross obesity (four hundred pounds), young age, and lack of suggestive symptoms made PE an unlikely diagnosis. Defense verdict.
- 2007 – Marion County
A Centralia obstetrician was sued on behalf of a little girl that suffered an Erb’s palsy discovered shortly after birth. Plaintiff claimed she had a shoulder dystocia at birth and that the obstetrician applied excess lateral traction causing the injury. The defendant claimed that there was no indication of a shoulder dystocia and that the injury could have occurred in utero or at the time of birth, but not from any negligence on his part. The little girl had significant impairment in one arm and had undergone surgical procedure to help restore some function. Defense verdict.
- 2007 – Jackson County
Two Carbondale pediatricians and a Nurse Practitioner were sued following the death of a three-year-old girl as a result of a pneumococcal infection. She had come under the care of the Nurse Practitioner when she was just over two years of age. It was claimed that the defendants were negligent for not administering a new vaccine called Prevnar, which had just become available. It was undisputed that Prevnar more likely than not would have prevented the infection. But defendants contended that Prevnar was in short supply and that the CDC guidelines in effect at that time did not recommend giving Prevnar to a child of this age. Plaintiff did not retain a nursing expert. After four days of trial the court granted defense motions resulting in the dismissal of the case based upon the lack of competent testimony against the nurse and based upon the lack of involvement of the defendant physicians in her care.
- 2008 – Jackson County
A Carbondale radiologist was sued for improperly administering an upper GI using barium contrast material. The patient, unbeknownst to the radiologist, had a fistula connecting the pericardial sac and the esophagus – an extraordinarily rare condition. The dye entered the pericardial sac, urgent surgery was performed, and the patient died shortly thereafter due to sepsis. The patient had undergone a colonic interposition years before which was known to the radiologist, so it was claimed that a more thorough workup was warranted before using barium dye. The defendant contended that barium is a safe material, that there was already contamination in the pericardial sac, and that what he did simply revealed the problem but did not cause it. Defense verdict.
- 2008 – Jackson County
A local neurosurgeon was sued by the adult children of an elderly lady that died a month after a lumbar laminectomy was performed. The patient had persistent drainage which plaintiff contended should have prompted a more aggressive work up for a dural leak. The surgeon contended that post operative drainage is not unexpected and thus he did not have reason, initially, to suspect a leak. When the patient was eventually returned to surgery, a dural leak was discovered and repaired, but the patient developed meningitis a few days later and died. Defense verdict.
- 2010 – Jefferson County
A cardiologist was sued by the widow claiming the defendant failed to diagnose coronary artery spasm as the cause of his presenting complaints of chest pain. The patient was admitted and worked up, but a cardiac cath did not reveal sufficient blockage to diagnose blockage as the cause. The working diagnosis was a thrombus that lysed. The patient died the day after he was discharged. The jury returned a verdict after deliberating for only an hour. Defense verdict.
- 2010 – Williamson County
The patient underwent an adult circumcision. He had complaints following the surgery and underwent a total of five subsequent surgeries. It was claimed that the initial circumcision required the subsequent surgeries. The patient was left with a significant impairment and claimed he was unable to have relations with his wife. The defendant claimed that the defect from the circumcision was minimal and would resolve with time and that the subsequent surgeon was the sole cause of the patient’s current condition. Defense verdict.
- 2014 – United District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
The patient underwent a intraocular lens exchange and the physician used the wrong size implant resulting in significant visual loss. The defense was based on a programming error and the contention that the physician offered to replace the implant free of charge. The patient declined the offer instead pursing the lawsuit. Defense verdict.
- 2018 – Jackson County
The patient underwent bilateral hip joint replacement and post-surgery developed a significant decubitus claimed to be the result of improper post-operative positioning. The defense was based on the contention that any errors in post op positioning were the result of conduct of other parties. Defense verdict
- 2018 – Williamson County
An elderly patient underwent surgery to reduce a displaced femoral fracture. During surgery a cerclage wire was placed, which entrapped the femoral artery. Due to the ischemia that followed the patient required an amputation of the leg above the knee and then died three months later. The defendant physician claimed that the entrapment of the artery was a known complication due to conditions beyond the surgeon’s control. Defense verdict.
- 2019 – Richland County
An elderly lady underwent a dilation and curettage procedure during which the uterus and bowel were perforated, unbeknownst to the surgeon. A couple of days later the patient developed peritonitis leading to a prolonged hospitalization as she was near death. She eventually recovered. The defendant physician contended that perforation of the uterus was a recognized risk of the procedure and that she had no reasonable basis to know that this had occurred at the time of surgery. Defense verdict.
- 2019 – Williamson County
A women in her mid-forties suffered a comminuted fracture of her distal humerus requiring an open reduction and internal fixation with a plate. Immediately after the surgery the patient had significant neurological deficits including a wrist drop. When she failed to improve a repeat surgery was performed and it was discovered that a small portion of the radial nerve was trapped by the proximal corner of the plate. The plaintiff claimed that the plate had been negligently placed on the nerve. The defendant claimed that the movement of the nerve when the retractors were removed and motion of the arm after surgery caused the nerve to become snagged. Defense verdict.