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Dillon v. Evanston Hospital
Illinois Supreme Court
771 N.E.2d 357 (Ill. 2002)
Diane Dillon (plaintiff) sued Evanston Hospital, Dr. Stephen Sener, and others (defendants) for medical malpractice after Dr. Sener left part of a chemotherapy catheter in Dillon’s vein. The fragment migrated to Dillon’s heart, where it was too risky to remove. Leaving the fragment in Dillon’s heart carried risks of future infection, heart perforation, arrythmia, embolization, and further migration. None of those problems occurred before trial, and several doctors testified that they were not reasonably certain to occur in the future. The risk of infection ranged from 0 to 20 percent, and the risks of other problems 5 percent or less. The judge instructed that the jury could award damages for Dillon’s “increased risk of future injuries” and “pain and suffering experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future as a result of the injuries.” The jury awarded Dillon $500,000 for increased risk of future injuries. Dr. Sener and the hospital appealed. After the appellate court affirmed, the Illinois Supreme Court granted review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Freeman, J.)
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