The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Suit Claiming Fatal 'Over-Radiation' Settled

A medical malpractice lawsuit against Little Company of Mary Hospital on behalf of deceased West Lawn resident Patricia Quirk was dismissed in return for a $7.5 million settlement (Sun-Times). Quirk died of a perforated bowel in 2004, which the suit claimed was due to a dangerously high dose of radiation.

Surviving husband Thomas Quirk would rather have his wife back, but the multimillion-dollar settlement is a Cook County record for a wrongful death suit of an adult with no minor children, the plaintiff's attorney told reporters.

Two other entities, Radiation Oncology S.C. and physician Vera Petras, also were named as defendants in the suit. The legal action sought to hold them and the hospital liable for allegedly giving her 50 percent more radiation than was prescribed.

Chicago injury attorney Barry Goldberg, representing the plaintiff, described the alleged negligence to reporters:

"It could have been caught very early. When the data recording says 280 [centigrays of radiation], verification of her charts by human beings would have caught it should be 180. All they had to do was look at the charts."

Hospital officials did not provide comment for the article.

Quirk, 60 years old at the time of her death, was a mental health expert who volunteered upwards of 60 hours per week for mental health advocacy concerns for more than 15 years, her husband told reporters.