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

Professional Liability

Plaintiff v. Defendant Surgeon


Defendant Surgeon


Verdict for the defense


Donohue Brown’s John McGarry successfully defended a surgeon accused of professional negligence in not performing surgery on a man with acute, necrotizing, infected pancreatitis.

The plaintiff, 57, went to a medical center in the Chicago suburbs where CT scans revealed his pancreas was inflamed, necrotic, and later infected. The patient had multi-system organ failure.  The defendant surgeon ordered percutaneous drainage of the abscess rather than surgery, and the patient stabilized, only to die a week later.

The plaintiff’s two experts from Harvard Medical School claimed the surgeon deviated from the standard of care by not performing a pancreatic necrosectomy when the patient failed to improve clinically.

The defense experts testified the risks of surgery outweighed the benefits, given the greater than 80% mortality risk of surgery and the safer alternative of drainage.

The plaintiff requested $2.5 to $3.5 million for the wife and sons’ loss of society.  The Lake County jury returned a verdict for the defense.