Jury Awards $11.11 Million for Missed Diagnosis of Rare Bacterial Meningitis

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On June 28, 2007, a Cook County jury awarded $11.11 million in damages to a 65-year-old woman who was misdiagnosed in the emergency department at Victory Memorial Hospital in November 1998.

On June 28, 2007, a Cook County jury awarded $11.11 million in damages to a 65-year-old woman who was misdiagnosed in the emergency department at Victory Memorial Hospital in November 1998.

Judy Spiegelman went to the emergency department complaining of a headache and earache. The doctor decided first to discharge her from the hospital even though she had a facial paralysis on the left and complaints of double vision. Judy refused to leave the hospital because she could not walk and was falling and leaning to the left. The emergency department doctor, Murray Keene, M.D., thought she might have had a stroke and admitted her to the hospital.

It turned out that even though she did not in the emergency department have the classic signs of meningitis, a stiff neck, fever, and altered mental state, she progressed to a coma in 24 hours at which time she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Plaintiff claimed that Dr. Keene was an apparent agent of the hospital and that he should have considered a brain infection like bacterial meningitis as a possible diagnosis and treated her with an effective antibiotic. The defense claimed that she had an exceedingly rare condition with non-classic symptoms that were not required to be diagnosed and that the antibiotics she was placed on were effective for bacterial meningitis. Judy has lived in a nursing home ever since as she no longer can live independently due to problems with activities of daily living and problems with speech and walking.

Case number:
05 L 005236- Judge Daniel M. Locallo
Cook County, Chicago, Illinois
Trial from June 12, 2007-June 28, 2007

The case was tried by Thomas O. Plouff and David Gilbreth for the plaintiff and Timothy Weaver of Pretzel & Stouffer for Dr. Keene and Ruth Enright of Baker & Enright for Victory Memorial Hospital.

David E. Gilbreth, Esq.
1712 West Wellington
Chicago, Illinois 60657
(312) 371-5344

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David Gilbreth, Esq.

(312) 371-5344
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