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ITLA Bill Signed Into Law by Illinois Governor

Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that will standardize attorney’s fees in medical malpractice cases. While the new law will allow attorneys to charge up to one-third of the plaintiff’s award, the fees are capped at that amount and attorneys are not permitted to petition the court for additional fees. The Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association supported the bill.

The new law brings the rules regarding attorney’s fees in medical malpractice cases in line with those in other types of lawsuits. Under the previous law, plaintiffs’ attorneys in medical malpractice cases could seek only one-third of the first $150,000 of an award, one-quarter of the next $850,000 and one-fifth of any award over $1 million. However, attorneys could also petition the court for fees up to 50 percent of the award.

Under the new law, plaintiffs’ attorneys in medical malpractice cases may seek one-third of the total award, and may not seek additional fees. The law was passed by the state legislature for the most part along party lines, with Democratic lawmakers supporting the bill and Republicans opposing it. The law went into effect on January 18.

Governor Quinn’s office released a statement saying that the new law would provide certainty and consistency for both attorneys and the victims of medical malpractice, and that the awarding of additional compensation had been eliminated.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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Birth Injuries on the Rise in United States

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there has been a startling increase in birth injuries in the United States. The study reveals that from 2000 through 2009, there was a 75 percent increase in emergencies during delivery, and post-delivery complications increased by 50 percent during the same time period. One result has been an increase in birth injury lawsuits by parents seeking compensation for medical malpractice.

The risk of complications during delivery is greater for women suffering from conditions such as diabetes, obesity or kidney disease, but women in good health can suffer from birth complications as well. Birth complications such as severe bleeding can be life-threatening for the mother, and other complications put the baby at risk.

A prolonged or abnormal labor may make a Caesarean section necessary, and if medical personnel fail to perform one or fail to perform it in a timely fashion, the result can be fetal distress, cerebral palsy, brain damage or even stillbirth.

After the publication of the CDC report, medical experts have called for better training and safety guidelines to deal with emergencies during a delivery. Some hospitals have instituted training procedures such as emergency drills. But medical malpractice still occurs, and parents of a child who suffer a birth injury should seek advice from a qualified birth injury attorney.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago birth injury lawyer and Chicago birth injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Cook County May Settle Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Almost Two Million Dollars

Elected officials in Cook County, Illinois are deciding whether to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the county by a man whose leg had to be amputated after he was treated at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital five years ago. The lawsuit is proposed to be settled for $1.75 million.

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2010, alleges that the hospital did not meet the standard of care that was due to the patient.

Court records show that Jessie Peoples went to the emergency room at Stroger Hospital in early 2007 complaining of numbness and an ulcer on his leg. The county hospital referred him to its vascular clinic due to reduced blood flow in his leg and foot. Later that year, Peoples was admitted to what was then called St. Francis Hospital and Health Center, where medical personnel determined that an infection in the leg had advanced to the point where an amputation above the knee was necessary.

The Finance Committee of the County Board will vote on whether or not to settle the case, before the full board gives final approval. Because the settlement will be before trial, the county health system will not admit wrongdoing in the case.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Illinois Legislature Passes Bill Increasing Attorney Fees in Medical Malpractice Cases

The Illinois General Assembly has passed a measure that would increase the attorneys’ fees allowed in medical malpractice cases, but would also prevent attorneys from petitioning the court for higher fees.

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 67 to 46 to approve a Senate amendment to House Bill 5151, and the bill now awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature. The Senate had passed the bill on a 36-15 vote.

In both houses of the state legislature, the vote was along party lines, with Republicans opposing the legislation. The bill was sponsored by Democratic legislators and had been pushed by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA).

Under existing law, plaintiffs’ attorneys in medical malpractice cases are only permitted fees amounting to one-third of the first $150,000 of the plaintiff’s award, one-quarter of the next $850,000 awarded and one-fifth of any award over $1 million. If approved by Gov. Quinn, the new law will provide for attorneys in medical malpractice cases to charge one-third of the full award, as is typically the case with non-medical malpractice lawsuits. In addition, under the new law, attorneys will not be permitted to petition the court for an increase in fees, something that had become routine under existing law.

ITLA advocated for the change, saying that the new bill would bring fairness to attorneys’ fees, with attorneys in medical malpractice cases being treated the same as attorneys in other cases.

The bill was opposed by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS), and the group has urged Quinn to veto it. The group, which represents doctors, said that the bill would roll back previous reforms to the system of attorney’s fees.

Bob Briskman is a medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Nursing Home Sued in Wrongful Death Case

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a nursing home on the South Side of Chicago after a patient, who was allegedly prescribed an overdose of medication, died.

A representative of Sonya Eli file the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the woman’s
doctors wrote a prescription for a dangerous combination and dosage of medicine, causing her January 2011 death.

The lawsuit claims that the nursing home, Rainbow Beach Nursing Center, was negligent in administering incorrect doses of medication and failed to properly monitor the patient’s condition. The lawsuit seeks more than $200,000 in damages.

While nursing home residents should be entitled to the highest standard of care, this is often not the case. Neglect, abuse and medical malpractice occur at nursing homes and assisted living facilities all too often, resulting in personal injury or even death. For the victims and families of those who have been victimized, seeking legal representation is often the first step toward proper compensation for harm suffered.

Nursing homes in Illinois are inspected and regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The Department conducts more than 10,000 surveys each year, responding to more than 5,000 annual complaints. IDPH also issues quarterly reports of nursing home violations.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Major Brain Injury Study Yields Disappointing Results

A major scientific study of the effects of a nutritional supplement on brain injuries has yielded disappointing results.

The U.S. military had hoped that the the supplement, citicoline, could be used to treat wounded veterans. In products available over the counter, it is marketed as having memory-enhancing effects, and it is used by doctors worldwide in the treatment of brain trauma and strokes, despite a mixed body of evidence.

But in this, the most rigorous test conducted so far, citicoline was found to work no better than a placebo at enhancing attention, concentration, and memory.

Researchers selected 1,213 adult patients admitted to eight U.S. hospitals with brain trauma ranging from mild to severe. Half of these patients began received their first dose of 2,000 milligrams of citicoline in pill or liquid form within 24 hours of their injuries. The dose, much higher than that commonly added to over-the-counter products, was administered daily for three months. The other half of patients received a placebo in the same time frame.

All patients were observed for a period of six months. Most showed improvement in the measured mental functions, but those receiving citicoline did not show a substantially different level of improvement versus those receiving a placebo. This suggests that the improvement observed was the result of normal healing.

Over one million Americans experience brain injuries annually. There currently is no effective treatment.

Robert Briskman is a medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Experimental Autism Therapy Costs Doctor His License in Illinois, Missouri

A doctor who has promoted a treatment for autistic children using a drug that suppresses testosterone has lost his license to practice medicine in Illinois and Missouri.

Dr. Mark Geier’s therapy involves injecting children with the drug Lupron, a hormone inhibitor that is sometimes employed to “chemically castrate” sex offenders. Experts said the therapy was not based on sound science.

Geier’s medical licenses in both Missouri and Illinois were revoked by authorities in those states, who cited similar action taken by the Maryland State Board of Physicians in August.

Geier and his son had opened a number of clinics to promote his Lupron-based therapy, which cost up to $6,000 per month. They hypothesized that high levels of testosterone are the cause of many symptoms of autism in children.

Lupron is used in the treatment of precocious puberty, a disease in which the onset of puberty occurs at an unusually early age.

The Maryland board characterized Geier’s Lupron therapy as “experimental” and said that it “constituted a substantial likelihood of a risk of serious harm to the public health, safety and welfare.” In July, they fined Geier $10,000 for practicing medicine without a license.

Geier’s attorneys claim that he is being unfairly targeted in retaliation for speaking out against the use of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, in vaccines, and associating its use with a rise in autism rates.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Chicago Man Alleges Medical Malpractice in Liver Transplant

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is the subject of a medical malpractice suit recently filed by a Cook County man who claims that the liver he received by transplant in May of 2011 had malignant cancer tissue.

Johnny Sirbu claims that as a result of the transplant, he now has cancer. He is seeking at least $250,000 in damages.

Also named as a defendant in the court filing is Virginia-based United Network for Organ Sharing, which provided the donated liver.

According to the lawsuit, Sirbu has suffered worsening complications in the 18 months since the transplant, including a diagnosis of liver cancer.

Sirbu claims that neither the organ provider nor his doctors adequately tested the liver for disease before clearing it for use in his transplant. According to the lawsuit, tests conducted in the months following the transplant returned questionable results, but doctors attributed those results to Sirbu’s history of alcohol abuse.

They also failed to recommend a second transplant with a replacement liver during a narrow window following the operation, the court filing states.

The lawsuit claims Sirbu is disabled and is suffering from “great physical pain” and “mental anguish” as a result of his condition. It further states that the liver cancer may claim Sirbu’s life.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Father’s Occupation May Play a Role in Birth Defects

Researchers have discovered that the risk of birth defects may be increased by the type of work the father did before the baby was conceived.

The study, by researchers at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, relies on data from the U.S. National Birth Defects Prevention Study. The study is an ongoing examination of the potential risk factors that apply to the most common types of birth defects, and is one of the largest of such studies ever conducted in the United States.

The study is the most extensive to date to examine which jobs are linked to which birth defects. The researchers gathered job histories from approximately 10,000 fathers who had children born with birth defects from 1997-2004. They also examined the work histories of about 4,000 fathers of children without birth defects. The occupations were classified into 63 groups, depending on potential exposure to chemicals and other hazards.

Many jobs that might seem to carry with them certain risks turned out not to be associated with a higher risk of birth defects, including medical professionals, firefighters, automobile assembly workers, fishermen, smelters, stonemasons, soldiers and commercial divers.

Other occupations were linked to specific defects. Photographers and photo processors were linked to cataracts, glaucoma and eye tissue disorders, while artists were associated with abnormalities of the heart, limbs, mouth, eyes and ears.

Drivers were also linked with eye disorders, while landscaping workers were associated with gut abnormalities.

The researchers cautioned that the study is preliminary, and they would not advise anyone to change jobs because of the results.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago birth injury lawyer and Chicago birth injury
with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Erb’s Palsy Leads to Birth Injury Lawsuit

A birth injury lawsuit has been filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that medical negligence caused a child to develop Erb’s Palsy. Christopher and Daniela Griffin filed the suit on behalf of themselves and their son, Christopher S. Griffin, Jr., against MetroSouth Medical Center and the attending physician, claiming that medical malpractice caused fetal distress during labor, leading to Christopher’s Erb’s palsy.

Daniela Griffin was admitted to the hospital for delivery of her child on December 30, 2009, under the care of a physician. The lawsuit claims that the doctor was negligent during delivery in applying “greater than gentle traction” to the child’s neck and head. The suit claims that Christopher now suffers from a permanent neurological impairment, as well as Erb’s palsy.

The Griffins allege that the doctor did not exercise a reasonable standard of care for an obstetrician. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Erb’s palsy is a paralysis affecting the arm that is often the result of shoulder dystocia during birth, for instance if the infant’s head and neck are pulled to the side during the birth. Depending on the severity of the injury, the paralysis may be complete or partial, and may require surgery or rehabilitative therapy, or it may resolve on its own over several months.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago birth injury lawyer and Chicago birth injury
with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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The Chicago Illinois personal injury law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County.
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