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Malpractice suit settled without knowledge of involved doctor

When fatal errors are made at the hands of a patient's trusted surgeon, family members often turn towards the assistance of an attorney to ensure that justice is served. Such was the case for one family when their loved one died during a procedure performed by the University of Illinois at Chicago's colorectal surgeon.

However, it appears that the hospital's officials allegedly settled the lawsuit without informing the physician that was involved. The medical malpractice suit came after a man died allegedly due to complications from a surgery performed by the hospital's chief of surgery at the time.

Without addressing the former chief of surgery, the hospital settled the suit with the son of the deceased and paid him $950,000. Court documents indicate that the university told the plaintiff's attorney to sue the surgeon and not serve him. Originally, the hospital was going to be sued as well.

After the suit was settled, the hospital then reported its chief of surgery to the state medical board and the National Practitioner Data Bank. A few months later, when the physician finally realized that he was involved in the suit, he went to court to have his name removed, but was unable to do so.

The physician soon filed suits at both the federal and the state level alleging that the suit did not apply to him because he did not sign it. He was hoping to have the settlement money returned to the university and the settlement itself rejected. No court allowed this to happen.

The man's attorney believes that the odd behavior surrounding the settlement was part of a conspiracy to make the physician look bad. Despite this, the university said that it would not withdraw any reports made to the medical board or the NPDB.

A different suit filed by the former chief of surgery at the state level against university officials was settled behind closed doors late last year. An attorney for the university declined to comment, but the physician's attorney did disclose that his client was satisfied with the outcome.

Source: Outpatient Surgery, "Did Hospital Settle Malpractice Case to Spite Its Chief of Surgery," Feb. 8, 2012

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