Bartlett nursing home to pay $5.6 million in stroke case

Updated 3/28/2018 2:54 PM

A Bartlett nursing home has been ordered to pay an additional $1.5 million in legal costs on top of a previous award of $4.1 million to the family of a deceased 89-year-old Schaumburg woman who suffered a stroke at a nursing home four years earlier.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lyons ruled Bartlett-based Clare Oaks had to pay the extra $147,472 to the family and nearly $1.4 million to the family's attorneys through a provision of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act regarding victims' rights.


Attorney Steven Levin, who represents the plaintiffs, said the act requires losing defendants to pay plaintiffs' attorney fees and other legal costs.

Markel Corporation, Clare Oaks' insurance company, has retained Thomas L. O'Carroll to appeal the decision but had no further comment on the pending litigation.

Last July, a Cook County jury awarded the original $4.1 million in its verdict against Clare Oaks. But the secondary process then kicked in to determine the amount of the nursing home's financial responsibility for the plaintiffs' legal costs, Levin said.

On Feb. 23, 2011, then 85-year-old Dolores Trendel was transferred from St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates to Clare Oaks for physical therapy, which she required after fracturing her hip in a fall.

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According to Trendel family attorneys, a Clare Oaks blood test March 16, 2011 showed Trendel required more Coumadin to thin her blood and prevent clotting and a stroke. Instead, employees discontinued her Coumadin for 14 days without her physician's approval, the family's attorneys said.

Those attorneys argued Claire Oaks employees failed to detect their error despite procedures that called for a "daily audit of all patients' medication administration needs."

On March 30, 2011, after Trendel displayed strokelike symptoms, she was sent to St. Alexius, where doctors determined she had suffered a stroke. The stroke caused weakness on the right side of her body and diminished her quality of life. She died four years later.

According to the family's attorneys, Trendel's physician, Percival Bigol, denied he discontinued her medication. Jurors found him not liable for her death.

A 2013 investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health found "no fault for Clare Oaks," which opened in 2008 and was awarded a five-star rating by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2013. The facility offers independent, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care for short-term rehabilitation.

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