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Appellate Court Rules Hospital’s Internal Quality Control Documents Privileged

April 4, 2017

In a significant development for the defense bar, the First District Appellate Court overturned a trial court’s decision to deny a privilege claimed for a collection of documents from a hospital’s internal quality control review meeting following the death of one of its patients.  Johnson & Bell argued that the hospital’s documents were privileged under the Illinois Medical Studies Act.  In the underlying case, the patient suffered anoxic brain injury and died following surgery. The plaintiff, the administrator of the patient’s estate, filed suit against the hospital and several others charging that the hospital failed to properly evaluate and care for the patient, and failed to inform him of the risks inherent with the surgery.  Following the patient’s surgery, the hospital conducted an internal quality control meeting.  As litigation progressed, plaintiff demanded that the hospital turn over the internal quality control review session documents. The trial court ordered the hospital to turn over the disputed documents related to the internal review process.  The hospital refused, and requested the entry a contempt finding to allow the hospital to file an interlocutory appeal. The Illinois Appellate Court found in favor of Johnson & Bell’s client, and held that the documents gathered for, used by, and created by the internal quality control committee members were privileged under the Medical Studies Act.  The Appellate Court also vacated the contempt order.  Johnson & Bell Shareholders, Tammy L. Wade and Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., have handled the case and its appellate issues on behalf of their hospital client.

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