Central DuPage Hospital settles malpractice lawsuit for $20 million
Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of an attorney who suffered severe brain damage because of, his lawyers say, a misdiagnosis four years ago.
Jay Williams, a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP, said his co-worker and friend Christopher Zinski, 54, of Wheaton, went into the Winfield hospital's emergency room late at night Sept. 15, 2012, complaining of a severe headache, vomiting, dizziness and neck stiffness.
"They took his vital signs and gave him some medications," Williams said. "They never did a CT scan."
Williams said the lawsuit was requested by Zinski's wife and caregiver, Patricia. He said Schiff Hardin worked on the lawsuit with personal injury law firm Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny.
It was filed in a Cook County court in 2013 and alleged that Zinski had a warning bleed when he went to the hospital that could have been identified if he had undergone a CT scan.
Two days later, Zinski collapsed at the office of Schiff Hardin, where he was a partner. A ruptured aneurysm left the father of four permanently impaired, with significant memory and cognitive dysfunction.
"He had a long, promising career ahead of him," Williams said. "Obviously, the family feels this more than anybody. While it's trite to say he was an amazing colleague and friend, what the family lost was a dad and a husband who was a devoted partner."
Williams said Zinski can still communicate but has difficulty participating in conversations and needs 24-hour assistance and care.
"It's a condition that leaves him vulnerable to a lot of dangers and problems if people aren't there watching him," he said.
Christopher King, spokesman for Northwestern Medicine, said in a statement that the hospital's mission is to provide patients with high-quality, compassionate care every day.
"While we believe the care provided at that time was appropriate, we hope this settlement brings closure to the patient and his family," he said.