Lorenzo v. Defendant Occupational Medicine Physician, et al

  • Circuit Court of Cook County (Honorable Michael Panter)04/26/2015
    Counsel: Mark M. Burden
    Client: Defendant Occupational Medicine Physician
    Outcome: Verdict in Favor of Defendants

Synopsis:

On June 15, 2007 the plaintiff, an uncontrolled diabetic, saw the defendant physician for an injury he received when he fell off a ladder at work. A physical exam and X-Ray were performed, which revealed a metallic foreign body in plaintiff’s heel. There were no puncture or entrance sites on plaintiff’s heel, and the object was deemed chronic and not acute. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and heel contusion and instructed to follow up in 4 days.

When plaintiff returned, he complained of increase pain, and a CT scan was ordered and performed the next day. On June 21, 2007, the plaintiff was seen by the defendant's partner, who diagnosed the plaintiff with emerging cellutis and prescribed antibiotics. The plaintiff was ordered to return the following day. On June 22, 2007, the plaintiff returned, and the defendant physician referred the plaintiff to a foot specialist because the heel was not improving. The plaintiff was admitted to Mercy Hospital, where his heel was drained and debrided. The plaintiff’s heel was eventually partially amputated

Plaintiff claims that the defendant failed to appreciate the early signs of infection during the first two office visits and should have treated the plaintiff with antibiotics. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the foreign body and plaintiff’s uncontrolled diabetes should have prompted the defendant to provide more aggressive treatment, which would have prevented the partial heel amputation.

The defense argued that the plaintiff sustained a heel contusion and sprained ankle during his fall. As of the second office visit there was no evidence of infection. There is no reason to check the plaintiff's blood sugars because it would not have changed the treatment plan for an ankle sprain and contused heel. Plaintiff’s description of his injury was not consistent with the foreign body entering the heel during his fall. The plaintiff’s first sign of infection was promptly recognized on the plaintiff's third office visit in a week, and oral antibiotics were started. The plaintiff was told to return the following day for evaluation. When the plaintiff returned, it was clear that his condition was worsening and not responding to the antibiotics and therefore the plaintiff was immediately referred to a podiatrist for hospital admission and surgical evaluation.

In closing arguments, plaintiff's counsel requested $1.3 million. After deliberating an hour and half, including lunch, the jury returned a verdict on behalf of the defendant physician and his corporation.