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Illinois surgical error lawsuit may break new ground

Health problems after long or invasive surgery or medical treatments are often par for the course. They are difficult enough to deal with in the best circumstances, but it is especially hard when the pain or trouble is caused by the people or organizations we trust to take care of us.

A couple from Poplar Grove may be blazing a new trail in the laws used to rectify problems caused by incorrect or insufficient care in Illinois. Their original lawsuit claimed a health system was negligent in credentialing a neurosurgeon who performed a wrong-side procedure of the plaintiff's spine. The jury ruled for the defendant after the trial.

Now, the plaintiff is appealing because they believe the judge erred when she dismissed medical battery and fraud charges, allowing the negligent credentialing charges to stand alone. The ruling claimed fraud and medical negligence could not be charged at the same time for the same case.

Illinois' law on medical battery, which may be any unauthorized touching of a patient, is thin enough to leave judges to make their own determinations. The plaintiff, however, countered the decision by claiming she would not have consented to surgery if the hospital informed her of all the details of the surgeon's history. This may constitute medical battery.

Any victims of medical or surgical errors should research the legal background of what happened to them. Few are better at assisting with this process than an attorney. Legal representation is often useful if a claim goes to a negotiated settlement or a verdict decided by a jury in civil court.

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