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Jury Awards $3.5 Million to Woman with Catheter Embedded in Heart

12.16.1997

A Cook County Circuit Court jury today awarded $3.5 million to an Arlington Heights woman who is living with a portion of a catheter embedded in her heart as the result of her doctor's negligence. Although apparently in no imminent danger, the plaintiff faces the risk of infection and other complications as a result of the catheter piece that remains in her body.

Corboy & Demetrio represented the plaintiff in a three and a half week trial in the courtroom of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas P. Quinn.

Finding in favor of the plaintiff, the jury ruled against Dr. Stephen F. Sener, a doctor at Evanston Hospital who handled the procedures of both inserting and taking out the catheter. The jury also ruled against Evanston Hospital, where Dr. Sener performed the procedures.

Dr. Sener inserted a Hickman Subcutaneous Port-A-Cath into the plaintiff in April of 1989, shortly after a cancerous growth was discovered on her right breast and she underwent a mastectomy. The catheter was necessary for the plaintiff's chemotherapy treatments.

The case alleged that Dr. Sener was negligent for improperly placing the catheter in the plaintiff, a misplacement that caused it to fracture. The doctor again was negligent in July of the following year when he removed the catheter, the case charged.

The plaintiff did not learn about the portion that remained inside her until December of 1991 following an annual X-ray at another hospital. By that time the risk of taking it out became too great because it already had embedded in her heart.

As a result of the negligent care and treatment by both the hospital and the doctor, the plaintiff suffers severe and permanent mental anguish.

The jury found no liability on the part of Davol Inc., the company that manufactures and distributes the tubing used by the physician. Jurors also found that neither Evanston Hospital's Dr. Ronald B. Port, who allegedly misdiagnosed reading an X-ray in December of 1990, nor Kathy Henderson, a nurse at Evanston Hospital's Kellogg Cancer Care Center, was guilty of negligence. 

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