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Doctor's Fall Lands Record Settlement in Kankakee County

04.12.2001

Today, the largest settlement in Kankakee County history, $2.8 Million, was approved by Judge Fred Carr of the 21st Judicial Circuit on behalf of an injured doctor.

On September 3, 1992, a doctor who wishes confidentiality, was going from a procedure in the operating rooms area to a patient at Riverside Medical Center's pain clinic. As he walked down the OR hallway, he slipped and fell striking his left elbow on the caster of a video endoscopic cart. An uncapped bottle of silicone was found under the cart.

Francis Patrick Murphy, a partner at Chicago's Corboy & Demetrio, who represented the doctor, stated:

"A key piece of our case was establishing that this bottle was only restocked by hospital nurses or technicians. This meant we did not have to prove how long the spilt chemical was on the floor since the hospital employees caused the condition."

The doctor suffered an injury to his left ulnar nerve at the elbow. Although he had several surgeries to repair the damaged nerve, his 4th and 5th fingers of his non-dominant left hand were partially clawed. This partial clawing affected his ability to fully perform as an anesthesiologist.

"This man is an excellent example of a person who is given lemons but makes lemonade," said Murphy. "Although his disability prevented him from returning to his profession, he was re-trained in the field of pain management. He is now a certified pain manager and now operates a highly successful pain clinic."

"Good housekeeping practices are critical in the workplace." Murphy concluded, "Even a simple fall can have catastrophic effects."

Although this settlement is the largest in Kankakee history, the largest slip and fall settlement was also obtained by Corboy & Demetrio when the firm settled a case for $5.25 Million as a result of quadriplegia suffered by a 74 year old woman who fell in a J.C. Penney store.

Riverside Medical Center was originally represented by Robert Baron of Rooks, Pitts and Proust. When Mr. Baron assumed the bench in Kankakee, RMC then became represented by William Johnson and Margaret Unger of Johnson & Bell. The case settled at mediation before retired Judge Dean Trafelet. The case number is 93-L-190.

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