Byrne v. Emergency Room Doctor

  • 03/01/2017
    Client: Defendant Emergency Room Doctor
    Outcome: Verdict for the defense

Synopsis:

Michael Borree of Donohue Brown successfully defended an emergency room physician against a claim of emotional and physical abuse and injury by a retired Chicago policeman.

The plaintiff presented at a local hospital’s emergency room on July 22, 2011, complaining of back pain with radiating leg pain that was most pronounced in his right knee. The septuagenarian plaintiff claimed the ER doctor belittled his claims, ridiculed him, and essentially refused to treat him. Instead, the defendant ER doctor performed an X-ray of the right knee, and administered pain medication. The doctor also conducted a range-of-motion test of the plaintiff's right hip. The plaintiff denied prior trauma.

As the plaintiff was being released from the ER, it was undisputed that the doctor assisted him in getting into his car. Plaintiff claimed the doctor stuffed him into the back seat, whereupon he heard a snapping sound.

Three days after the emergency room encounter, plaintiff was diagnosed with a right hip fracture. Plaintiff contended that in the process of the emergency room doctor assisting him into his car on July 22, 2011, his hip was fractured.  

At trial, the defense showed that the plaintiff had been receiving care from orthopedists in the weeks prior to the ER visit, and that later histories revealed a fall that was not disclosed in the ER. The hip fracture had gone undiagnosed by the orthopedic specialists before the ER visit.

The jury returned a not-guilty verdict in 45 minutes.