Complete Defense Verdict Achieved in $2.25 Million Medical Malpractice Claim Involving Nephrologists

August 1, 2022

Hinshaw partners Peter Walsh and Jill Eckhaus, along with associate Natalie Murphy, recently obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of their clients, two nephrology physicians and their employer, in a $2.25 million wrongful death suit.

The decedent was transferred from a large acute care hospital after a lengthy stay, to a rehab care hospital, following a variety of complications due to an extremely complex heart surgery. One such complication was an acute kidney injury requiring hemodialysis. Upon transfer, a nephrology consult was entered, resulting in nephrology consults by both defendant physicians. Given plaintiff's history of hypotension, the decision was made to start hemodialysis the next day. However, just hours after both consults, the patient's blood pressure crashed, and she later died.

The decedent's estate filed suit for alleged wrongful death and medical malpractice against the two nephrologists for failure to timely administer hemodialysis. Plaintiff contended that defendants should have attempted emergent hemodialysis rather than considering her hypotension and continuing to monitor the patient's condition. Defendants argued that they complied with the standard of care in their care and treatment of the patient, and both consults reached the same conclusion, having considered the patient's hypotension. Both argued that stat hemodialysis was not required and that the patient's bout of hypotension just hours after the consults, which led to her demise, was not proximately caused by the failure to receive one stat hemodialysis treatment. Lastly, defendants argued that the cardiothoracic surgeon's risky and complicated surgery at Stroger Hospital was the proximate cause of her severe life-threatening complications, along with the surgeon's inappropriate transfer of the patient to acute rehab care. 

At the close of trial, plaintiff asked the jury for $2.25 million in damages. After less than seven minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a complete defense verdict.

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