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Showing 2 posts in Medical Malpractice Insurance.

Court Holds Alteration of Medical Record does not Create Inference of Falsification

Watson v. West Suburban Medical Center, 2018 IL App (1st) 162707

We're going to begin exploration of this recent Illinois decision, by referencing one of our favorite movies: The Verdict (1982) starring Paul Newman. In the movie, Newman's character, lawyer Frank Galvin, wins a medical malpractice trial on behalf of Deborah Anne Kaye against St. Catherine Leboure Hospital. During the trial, Galvin elicits testimony from Nurse Kaitlin Costello Price that the patient had eaten just one hour before a surgery during which she aspirated, resulting in her paralyzation and permanent vegetative state. On cross-examination from defense counsel for the Hospital, Nurse Kaye produces a photocopy of the original medical record which proves she had noted the time at which the patient last ate, as well as that the record had been altered by an anesthesiologist, Dr. Robert Towler, to conceal that fact. While the able defense attorney convinces the trial judge to suppress evidence of the altered record—as well as to issue an admonishing instruction to the jury to disregard all Nurse Price's testimony—the jury renders a guilty verdict, and even asks if it can increase the amount awarded to Mrs. Kaye's family.

With the advent of electronic medical records and audit trails, the ability of healthcare providers to deliberately alter medical records with the intention of concealing harmful information—all without being noticed—is limited at best. But what happens when a known alteration of a medical record calls into question the validity of a material fact? Is evidence of the alteration admissible? Does such evidence create an inference of falsification? These issues were addressed in Watson v. West Suburban Medical Center, 2018 IL App (1st) 162707. More ›

Reviewing Important Illinois Healthcare Court Rulings: Evidence of Malpractice Insurance Generally Inadmissible

In our second of a series of posts looking at the impact of several recent court rulings on healthcare law in Illinois, we look at The Private Bank v. Silver Cross Hospital and Medical Centers, 2017 IL App (1st) 161863. In this case, the plaintiff alleged that an emergency room physician breached the standard of care by negligently delaying to treat her fiancé, who suffered an anoxic brain injury while admitted to the ICU for pneumonia. Plaintiff sought damages including loss of consortium and loss of a chance to marry, which were dismissed as Illinois does not recognize claims for the loss of a chance to marry or loss of consortium on behalf of a patient’s fiancé.  More ›

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