Lawyers at DBMS successfully litigate a wide variety of civil cases and argue appeals in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the country.

Medical Malpractice

DBMS Obtains Defense Verdict in Cook County

November 22, 2022



Defense Verdict


Sherri Arrigo and Ashley Dus of Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC successfully defended a neurologist at trial.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently performed a neurological evaluation of the plaintiff that resulted in a fibula fracture, permanent inability to walk and aggravation of the patient’s pre-existing medical conditions. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently attempted to stand the patient during an office visit, despite the patient’s statement that she was unable to do so and despite exam findings that should have put the defendant on notice that she would be unable to bear her own weight.  The plaintiff, and her adult nephew who was present in the exam room, testified that the neurologist pulled her out of her wheelchair against her will, and she fell to the ground and felt immediate pain in her ankle.  The neurologist denied that the patient ever fell to the ground and testified that as he assisted her in attempting to stand, she was unable to do so and leaned into him, at which time he safely re-seated her in the wheelchair in a controlled manner. The patient was diagnosed with an ankle fracture one week later, and treated with a CAM walker boot.  She reported to multiple treating physicians that she had fallen at her neurologist’s office, injuring her ankle.  At a follow-up visit with the defendant, the patient similarly informed him that she had injured her ankle at his office during her last visit.  Although not documented in the medical record, the defendant admitted at trial that the patient had made the statement but denied that the statement was accurate.  The plaintiff claimed that the CAM walker aggravated her pre-existing knee arthritis and that due to a period of immobility related to the fracture, she now is completely wheelchair-bound, no longer able to walk utilizing a walker, dependent on others for all activities of daily living, and has chronic severe pain in her lower extremities. The defense argued that observing a patient standing and walking is part of a complete neurologic exam, the neurologist complied with the standard of care in all respects, and the patient never fell to the floor at the neurologist’s office.  The defense disputed that the fracture occurred in the neurologist’s office, and established that the plaintiff could have sustained the fracture at any time without any known trauma given her poor bone health due to chronic medical conditions.  The defense further contended that the plaintiff’s current condition is due to her underlying degenerative neurologic disease.  After a week-long trial, the jury deliberated approximately one hour, including lunch, and returned a verdict for the defense.