$10.4M Award in Suit vs. South Suburban Hospital

SouthtownStar (Tinley Park, IL)

South Suburban Hospital will pay $10.4 million after a Cook County jury found that the hospital and its staff were negligent in caring for a patient, causing him to have his left hand and all toes amputated.

The Hazel Crest hospital isn't appealing the verdict, according to the hospital's law firm.

The Homewood man, who was 60 at the time, was admitted to South Suburban on Sept. 4, 2007, after experiencing several days of diarrhea and later underwent surgery to remove an infected colon, according to the Chicago law firm Power Rogers & Smith, which represented him in a lawsuit filed in 2009.

The victim's lawyers alleged that the hospital and several nurses were negligent in administering blood pressure medications to him, resulting in poor blood circulation to his extremities that ultimately required the amputations.

During the colon surgery, the patient received medication for a drop in his blood pressure, but the nursing staff in the intensive care unit failed to test a line monitoring the blood pressure, which resulted in false readings, according to the suit.

It claimed that the medication constricted blood vessels to boost blood flow and raised the patient's blood pressure. His attorneys contended that the line "was most likely malfunctioning for the full two days" following the surgery.

They said the monitor was showing that his systolic blood pressure was under 100 when in fact it was above that level.

Nurses continued to give him maximum amounts of the medication even though he needed little, if any, of the drug, and also failed to notice that his hands and feet were turning a grayish color and felt cold because of the poor circulation, according to the law firm.

The man's attorneys said he was in septic shock with multiple organ failure when he entered South Suburban, and the staff's negligence led to his left hand and the toes on both feet becoming gangrenous and requiring amputation.

Attorneys for the hospital argued during the trial on the lawsuit that the patients would have died if not for the use of the blood pressure medication, according to the patient's law firm.