William F. Cunningham and Melissa Mitchell recently secured a not guilty verdict for their client, an ambulatory surgery center, in a DuPage County wrongful death lawsuit.
Plaintiff alleged that the ambulatory surgery center was negligent in discharging the decedent home following a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder) surgery. Plaintiff also alleged that the discharge was in violation of the surgery center's own policies. The anesthesiologist involved in the discharge was also named in the suit. Interestingly, the plaintiff did not sue the surgeons who performed the procedure.
The decedent, a 54-year-old woman, was discharged home and returned to the emergency department less than 16 hours later. She was ultimately found to have a duodenal perforation. Surgery was performed to repair the perforation but after close to two weeks in a coma, the family elected to withdraw life support and the woman died. She left behind a husband and three adult children.
At trial, CMV argued that it was the perforation itself that caused the decedent's death. CMV further argued that the discharge was appropriate and within the standard of care and within the surgery center's policies.
Plaintiff asked for over $7 million in closing argument. The jury deliberated for over 6 hours before returning a verdict in favor of all the defendants. The co-defendant anesthesiologist had entered into a high-low agreement with the Plaintiff and therefore paid the low amount of $250,000.