Sometimes, a question comes up in a case that is so important to the case that we will fight to get it resolved even if it means taking the question to the Appellate Court or, if necessary, the Supreme Court of Illinois.
For example, we brought suit against a hospital emergency department for failing to get a little girl timely treatment for bacterial meningitis. One of our arguments was that the basic rules of triage were violated. (Triage is the method emergency departments use to decide who gets to see the doctor first. As you might guess, the basic rule of triage is that the most sick patients must be seen first).
Based on certain answers we got from the technician who performed triage on our client’s daughter, we began to suspect that the technician didn’t understand the rules of triage, and in fact let other, less sick patients get seen by a doctor first. To prove this, we asked the judge to order the hospital to turn over information on other patients seen that night; specifically, what time these patients arrived, how sick they were at triage (their acuity rating), and what time they saw the doctor. Despite the court’s order, the hospital refused to turn over the data, and filed an appeal to reverse the judge.
Now, appeals typically take a year to a year and a half to resolve, and many lawyers would drop the fight once an appeal is filed (lawyers can’t make money on a case while it is on appeal). We did not. We felt that the issue was too important to drop. So, we fought the hospital for almost fifteen months. Finally, in August of 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in our favor and ordered the hospital to turn over the data. What did it show? That the technician let eight less sick patients get seen and treated by a doctor before our client’s daughter. The point? A medical malpractice lawyer must be willing and able to fight the fights that matter.
If you have suffered a serious injury caused by medical malpractice, or a loved one has been seriously injured or died, we invite you to contact our firm and talk to one of our physician attorneys about whether a lawsuit would protect your best interests.