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$4.5 Million Settlement Awarded to Paralyzed DePaul Professor

It’s a story of courage that is, fortunately, now tinged with justice. A 72 year-old professor at Chicago’s DePaul University may be wheelchair bound and permanently paralyzed, but she still manages to find a way to DePaul to teach her classes. Now, restitution has been served in the form of a settlement agreement against the healthcare providers whose negligent conduct allegedly caused or contributed to cause her condition.

The woman became paralyzed due to an undiagnosed spinal infection; now she will receive a settlement of $4.5 million from Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, reports the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

The situation began when the woman went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, complaining of arthritic neck pain that radiated into her back. Whilst in the hospital, she contracted an infection at the site where an intravenous tube entered her left arm. Although doctors became aware of the infection and subsequently treated her with antibiotics, the infection lodged itself in her spine at the site of the underlying arthritis.

Weeks after leaving the hospital, she suffered a fall and had to be readmitted. Because the infection from the previous hospitalization had lodged in her spine, it had “eroded her bone and destroyed nerves in her spinal column,” stated the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits arise when people are injured by careless or intentional acts on the part of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare provider. Healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients, and when that duty is breached – such as in situations where the provider fails to adequately provide treatment for an infection– the failure is said to be a “tort,” or civil wrong, which can provide the basis for a lawsuit. As a result, the healthcare professional or institution may be made to pay damages to put the injured person back in the position he or she was in prior to being injured.

A Chicago personal injury attorney can attest that cases of negligent care are as dangerous as any other kind of medical malpractice. When doctors and other healthcare professionals fail to ensure that an infection is properly handled as a result of either carelessness or failing to conduct the appropriate tests, those health professionals may be liable for injuries that occur as a result of their failures to act.

Since suffering the hospital’s asserted failure to treat the infection, the professor has lost the use of her legs and has limited use of her arms and hands. Without doubt, medical malpractice cases are traumatizing and emotionally and physically difficult for victims and their families. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have handled a number of Illinois medical malpractice cases, including having won a record high $14 million verdict against a doctor and hospital for not following and ignoring abnormal chest X-ray results, which caused a substantial delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer, and a $7.62 million verdict against an HMO doctor who disregarded the mother’s complaints of postpartum bleeding, which resulted in her bleeding to death.

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights under the law.