EDWARDSVILLE — An Edwardsville attorney said Thursday a long fight in a medical malpractice case was worth the time as it ended with a $2.4 million verdict for his client.
“Hopefully, this will at least shine a little light on medical errors, and we can all commit to reducing them,” Edwardsville attorney Paul Schoen said.
The case took six years to litigate, but the large verdict is rare in southern Illinois.
“This jury looked past stereotypes and focused on the facts, and they deserve credit for that,” said R. Courtney Hughes of Carbondale, who tried the case with Schoen.
The Schoen, Walton, Telken and Foster law firm and the Hughes Law Firm won the verdict in court in Marion in Williamson County.
The jury found in favor of the estate of Sue Yates, 47, who lived near Carbondale. Named were Dr. Daniel Doolittle and Legatus Emergency Services.
Yates, who left a husband, son and granddaughter, died at Carbondale Memorial Hospital on March 11, 2007, from a bowel obstruction.The hospital was not a defendant.
The jury deliberated only two hours before returning its verdict on Monday.
“Nothing will bring Sue back, but I hope this verdict will bring some attention to medical malpractice deaths and what happened to Sue. Most people don’t think of the risks when they go in for treatment. I know we didn’t. You never think it will be your loved one who suffers or even dies from a medical error,” said Sue’s husband, Tom. “I’m just glad it’s all over with, and the jury agreed with us.”
Schoen said he and his associates were fighting for Yates’ survivors, including a son, Andy, and a granddaughter, Mayla.
“I feel so badly for Sue and her family. We felt all along this was a preventable death. She deserved someone fighting on her behalf and that’s what we did. It took nearly six years, but we had to keep fighting for Sue and her family, to try and make things right as best we could. But nothing will bring back Tom’s wife, Andy’s mother or Mayla’s grandma,” Schoen said.
Hughes said most people who suffer from medical malpractice never file a suit, and of those who do, having a case go to trial is rare and difficult.
“We have heard this is the largest jury verdict in Williamson County, besides the State Farm case,” Hughes said. In the State Farm consumer fraud case a judge awarded a plaintiff $730 million. That verdict was later overturned.