Corboy & Demetrio has obtained a record-setting jury verdict of $42,400,000 against Advocate Condell Medical Center for the wrongful death of a 47-year-old husband and father of two girls.  The decedent was a quadriplegic who was being monitored for the signs and symptoms of baclofen withdrawal, while awaiting surgery for the replacement of the pump that delivered the medication to him to control his muscle spasms. 

Corboy & Demetrio Attorneys Thomas A. Demetrio, Michael D. Ditore, and David R. Barry, Jr. represented the Estate in the two and a half-week trial before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lorna Propes.  Jurors took only three hours to deliberate before returning their verdict Friday night, Aug. 19, 2022.

The verdict set a record for the highest jury verdict for the wrongful death of a man 20 or older in a medical malpractice case in Illinois.

At age 26, the decedent became a quadriplegic due to a skiing accident and that when he was treated at the Rehab Institute of Chicago, he and his physical therapist’s assistant fell in love and married 3 years later.  They had two daughters who were 11 and 6 at the time of their father’s death.  “This was a true love story with a heartbreaking end,”  Demetrio said.

“Advocate allowed a culture of bad communication and collaboration to exist, which led to systemic failures in the decedent’s care. Our jury rendered a just verdict for those failures,” Ditore said.

Corboy & Demetrio presented evidence that decedent’s condition deteriorated quickly after he was admitted on July 28, 2017, due to the withdrawal symptoms from Baclofen, and that treating nurses failed to notify any doctor of his dire condition.

Corboy & Demetrio presented evidence that it was decedent’s father who notified his son’s neurosurgeon and alerted him to the life-threatening situation.  The surgeon ordered surgery to take place at 1:00 pm on July 31, butut when he arrived to perform it, neither the pump nor the correct concentration of baclofen was available.  While awaiting what was needed, the decedent suffered a respiratory arrest and hypoxia.  He never regained consciousness and remained in a coma until the decision to pull life support was made on August 13, 2017.

In their verdict, the jurors awarded $2.4 million for loss of income; $9 million for loss of grief, sorrow, and mental suffering; and $31 million for loss of society.  Prior to trial, the offer to the plaintiff was $3 million until immediately before the jury’s verdict was read when Advocate increased the officer to $5 million.