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Cischke, Yukich Secure Defense Verdict in Cardiac Surgery Dispute Seeking $5.8M in Damages

March 28, 2022

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Stacey A. Cischke, and Associate Attorney, Daniel M. Yukich, obtained a verdict for the defense in a multi-million dollar medical malpractice trial in Cook County.  The defense represented a local healthcare delivery system and a cardiac electrophysiologist at trial.  After a 10-day trial, plaintiff’s attorneys sought an award of $5.8M, but the jury returned with a verdict for the defense after 75 minutes of deliberation.

In this case, the plaintiff, a 19-year-old cardiac pacemaker patient, was transferred to the defendant hospital for a lifesaving pacemaker extraction.  The transfer was required after health professionals at a second hospital believed the pacemaker’s lead had become infected. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant physician, a cardiac electrophysiologist, was negligent in failing to identify a retained foreign body object that allegedly contributed to the ongoing infection, causing damage to the tricuspid valve. As a result of the alleged negligence, plaintiff incurred two open-heart tricuspid valve surgeries and may incur additional valvular surgery in the future. 

In response to these claims, the defense team argued that multiple imaging studies ordered and relied upon by defendant cardiac electrophysiologist did not indicate a retained foreign object.  Defense further argued that the alleged injuries were not proximately caused by the alleged negligence.  Initially, plaintiff’s attorneys tried to claim even more extensive health and monetary damages, including a future heart transplant and cognitive injuries.  However, these claims were withdrawn by plaintiff prior to the start of trial due to an aggressive defense that successfully dismantled these claims through discovery. After hearing the evidence over the 10-day trial, the jury deliberated for 75 minutes before returning a verdict for the defense.

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