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$1.5 Million Settlement to Widow of Man Given Incorrect Allergy Dosage

02.25.1998

A Glen Ellyn medical clinic and an allergist on its staff will pay $1.5 million to a former Bloomingdale woman whose husband, Steven Scheiblein, died after going into anaphylactic shock when he mistakenly received two allergy injections that were more than 3,000 times the proper dosage. The dosage given to Scheiblein was actually that prescribed for his brother, who also received allergy injections at the clinic.

Corboy & Demetrio filed the medical negligence case on behalf of Jean Revord, formerly of Bloomingdale and now of Utah. Her husband died on June 14, 1994, after being treated for allergies at the Bloomingdale office of Glen Ellyn Professional Associates, known as the Glen Ellyn Clinic.

Scheiblein, who had lifelong allergies, had only begun receiving the allergy injections at Glen Ellyn Clinic the previous month. Under the care of Dr. Joseph F. Kelly, one of two allergists on staff, he came into the clinic on the late afternoon of June 14 for his third series of allergy injections, which were administered by Esther Louise Lilley, a staff nurse.

The lawsuit contended that Lilley inadvertently gave Scheiblein a dosage prescribed for his brother and that in doing so she failed to follow the clinic's procedure for patient identification. The dosage that was injected--that prescribed for Scheiblein's brother--was higher because he had been receiving allergy injections at the clinic over a longer period of time and dosages are increased gradually for a patient as the body develops immunity to the injected allergens.

About 10 minutes after Scheiblein received the injections, he reported that he thought he was having a reaction, saying that he was experiencing shortness of breath, that his eyes were watering and that his hands were turning red. In fact, Scheiblein was experiencing the first symptoms of anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal condition that can arise in situations ranging from bee stings to reactions to food or such medications as penicillin.

The lawsuit charged that once Dr. Kelly discovered that Scheiblein was experiencing signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal within minutes, he should have immediately called 911. Instead, Dr. Kelly let crucial minutes elapse before calling 911, the lawsuit alleged, when proper and effective resuscitation could have reversed the situation.

When paramedics were called, they arrived at the clinic in one minute, records indicated. They preformed CPR on Scheiblein and transported him to Glen Oaks Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Scheiblein, 41 years old at the time of his death, was a salesman for Edward Hines Lumber Co. He is survived by his wife, Jean.

The suit, filed in DuPage County Circuit Court, was settled February 24, 1998, before Circuit Judge Rodney W. Equi.

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