Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Phillips Law Offices Win Record Settlement for Patient Suffering Severe Complications from Hernia Surgery

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Record $17.5 million settlement reached in Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit after hernia surgery gone wrong leaves plaintiff permanently blind and bedridden for six years

Stephen D. Phillips

This settlement will help provide the care, therapy, assistance, and medical equipment that Mr. Nichols needs throughout his lifetime.

Chicago personal injury attorneys Stephen D. Phillips and Jill M. Webb of Phillips Law Offices won the largest medical malpractice or tort settlement in Peoria County, Illinois for client Terry Nichols against defendants Dr. Rodney McCalla, Associated Surgical Group, and Methodist Medical Center. The record $17.5 million settlement was reached as a lawsuit was pending in the Circuit Court of Peoria County, Illinois, Case number 06 L 117, before the Honorable Scott Shore.
"This settlement will help provide the care, therapy, assistance, and medical equipment that Mr. Nichols needs throughout his lifetime," said attorney Stephen Phillips. "Mr. Nichols wanted to be able to participate in his children’s lives. With the assistance he can now obtain, he can be a more active father to his three children."

According to the lawsuit, Terry Nichols, a 36-year-old father of three, went to Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois for surgery to repair a giant inguinal hernia on April 23, 2004. The surgeon, Dr. Rodney McCalla, had finished his residency nine months prior, had never operated on a giant hernia, and had only seen a hernia 30 percent the size of Mr. Nichols’ basketball-size hernia. Despite his lack of experience, Dr. McCalla operated on the hernia laproscopically, even though he did not have privileges to perform interventional laparoscopic surgeries at the medical center, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit further claimed that Dr. McCalla injured Mr. Nichols’ bowel during the surgery causing a perforation which, over five days, led to an abdominal infection, abdominal compartment syndrome, sepsis, septic shock, multi-organ failure, cardiac arrest, bilateral ischemic neuropathy (blindness), and a colostomy bag.

Mr. Nichols’ hospital stay should have been two to three days according to standard surgical protocols, the lawsuit stated. According to depositions included in the lawsuit, on the fifth day after surgery Methodist’s nurses called Dr. McCalla five times, each time expressing grave concern and requesting Dr. McCalla’s presence at Mr. Nichols’ bedside, but Dr. McCalla never went to the hospital. Moreover, the depositions said, the nurses did not notify their supervisors or any other physician of Mr. Nichols’ deterioration or of Dr. McCalla’s unwillingness to come to the hospital.

As a result of this negligent care, the lawsuit stated, Mr. Nichols was hospitalized at Methodist for two and one-half months after he went into septic shock from infection, became blind, and required a colostomy for his bowel care.

Medical records submitted to support the lawsuit show that during this hospitalization, Mr. Nichols contracted a staph infection which seeded in his left hip causing infection, abscess, and osteomyelitis, which eventually required removal of the hip bone. He did not walk for six years. In 2010 Mr. Nichols underwent three surgeries for a hip replacement, and can now walk with a walker or cane. He has complete vision loss in one eye, and can only see grey shapes and shadows in his other eye.

In the lawsuit, Illinois medical malpractice attorneys Stephen Phillips and Jill Webb, claimed that Dr. McCalla’s surgical approach was inappropriate, and that the surgeon failed to recognize the symptoms of infection, abdominal compartment syndrome, sepsis, and septic shock. They further contended that the nurses at Methodist failed to report abnormal vital signs or to obtain another physician's care for Mr. Nichols after Dr. McCalla failed to come to the hospital—despite five phone calls from the nurses. Finally, Mr. Nichols’ lawyers claimed that Methodist did not properly credential and supervise Dr. McCalla, and failed to stop Dr. McCalla from performing a surgery he did not have privileges to perform.

About Phillips Law Offices
For more than 65 years, the Chicago injury attorneys of Phillips Law Offices have been protecting Illinois individuals and families from the negligent acts of medical professionals who put everyone’s life and health in danger by their negligent actions.
Founding partner Stephen D. Phillips and his colleagues represent clients who have lost a child, spouse, sibling, or parent, or who are personally victimized as a result of physician malpractice, mesothelioma, traumatic brain injuries, hospital negligence, pharmaceutical injuries, and defective products.
For more information about the firm, please visit the Phillips Law Offices website or call 312-346-4262.

Phillips Law Offices

161 N. Clark St., Suite 4925, Chicago, IL 60601-3296 (312) 346-4262

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