Loss of life of lady discharged from Froedtert ER highlights hole in medical malpractice legal guidelines

By Steve Schuster

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It was crisp December morning in 2018 when Kenosha resident Courtney Fiegel went by way of an expertise that might endlessly change her life.

On Dec. 4, 2018, Fiegel’s mom, 65-year-old Kathryn A. Olle, was rushed to Froedtert South Hospital’s emergency division in Kenosha. Olle was searching for remedy as a result of her nostril wouldn’t cease bleeding and wouldn’t clot following an ENT surgical procedure, Fiegel mentioned. Shortly after being evaluated by an emergency division doctor, Olle was discharged from the hospital, Fiegel added.

Lower than one-week later Olle returned to the exact same Froedtert South Emergency Division in Kenosha. Olle died on Dec. 10, 2018, Fiegel mentioned.

Fiegel (who works in well being care) mentioned the attending Emergency Division doctor refused to deal with Olle correctly.

“Physician (redacted) refused to deal with my mom. She was sitting there with blood clots, he wouldn’t even order a primary CT scan. He had completely no concern for my mother,” Fiegel mentioned.

“My mother couldn’t even breathe. She was slowly choking to dying in Froedtert’s emergency division and he (the physician) discharged her,” Fiegel added.

Fiegel mentioned she left a damaging assessment on Google of her mom’s expertise with the physician.

The emergency room physician who handled Fiegel’s mom returned the Wisconsin Regulation Journal’s cellphone name on July 18 and mentioned, “there isn’t a story right here, I will probably be going after that girl personally (for defamation).”

Inside minutes of talking with physician, the Wisconsin Regulation Journal obtained a cellphone name from Legal professional Joseph Olson, who mentioned he’s representing the ER physician who handled Olle, regardless of no formal criticism or lawsuit being filed in opposition to the physician. Olson mentioned he’s representing the physician for the alleged defamatory statements made by Fiegel.

Olson issued an announcement to the Wisconsin Regulation Journal on July 18 about his shopper.

“No criticism was ever made in opposition to Dr. (redacted) to the Wisconsin licensing authorities relating to this matter. Dr. (redacted) has by no means been discovered to have violated a requirements of care and his expertise as an emergency physician are nicely revered inside the neighborhood,” Olson mentioned.

Olson then added, “As soon as the identification of ‘Courtroom Courtroom 9925’ is confirmed, a defamation lawsuit will probably be strongly thought of by my shopper, as her “google assessment” is totally false. Any media amplification of ‘Courtroom Courtroom 9925’s’ defamation with out affordable investigation could result in additional legal responsibility.”

The Wisconsin Regulation Journal tried to analyze the allegations, nevertheless, Froedtert South declined to remark, citing HIPAA limitations.

In response to Olson’s assertion, Fiegel informed the Wisconsin Regulation Journal that she did, in actual fact, file a proper criticism in opposition to the physician with the hospital. The criticism resulted in a peer assessment of the physician, a security crew response, medical malpractice insurance coverage service’s involvement, and speak to from a number of attorneys, Feigel mentioned.

“They wouldn’t have arrange a peer assessment for an entire board after which faux that I’m simply making this up … if it didn’t occur then why did his employer move it on to malpractice insurance coverage?” Feigel requested.

Fiegel mentioned the hospital suggested her to file a declare with Froedtert’s insurance coverage firm, Magazine Mutual.

Finally, Magazine Mutual denied Fiegel’s declare and mentioned, “an grownup youngster can’t convey a malpractice go well with within the state of Wisconsin, solely a partner can do this.”

At that time, Fiegel reached out to legal professionals for recommendation. Up to now, none have been in a position to help, citing a spot in Wisconsin statutes, failing to supply recourse for grownup kids who misplaced a mother or father as a result of medical negligence.

The Wisconsin Regulation Journal reached out for remark to a number of of the identical attorneys Fiegel contacted who confirmed the present hole in present Wisconsin Statutes.

“This can be a hole within the legislation, and it’s an unintended hole,” mentioned Legal professional Robert Jaskulski with Habush, Habush & Rottier throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal.

Wisconsin legislation doesn’t acknowledge the precise for a kid to convey a declare in opposition to a lack of a mother or father, mentioned Jaskulski.

“It’s the way in which Chapter 655 was created by the Wisconsin Legislature. I don’t consider there was intent after they created language to not permit grownup kids for medical malpractice that causes the dying of an grownup mother or father when survived by an grownup partner,” Jaskulski added.

In accordance with Jaskulski, any time his agency will get a cellphone name relating to a declare involving medical negligence, the primary query requested if is there a surviving partner, or a minor youngster, as a result of they might be capable to make a declare beneath present Wisconsin legislation.

Jaskulski famous that if Olle had died in a site visitors crash from negligence, Fiegel would have been extra simply in a position to search to get well damages.

“If she had been driving down the highway and gone by way of intersection and one other automotive blew a pink gentle, killing her, (Fiegel) may have recovered damages,” Jaskulski mentioned, noting that “these legal guidelines don’t apply to medical malpractice in Wisconsin.”

The outcome?

“You will have legal professionals within the state turning down a whole bunch of instances of aged sufferers who died in a hospital setting and their grownup kids have authorized no treatment,” he mentioned.

Jaskulski mentioned that he and different Wisconsin legal professionals aren’t “calculating enterprise loss.”

“I do know that this sounds altruist, our major concern is truthfully to maintain the courthouse doorways open, advance civil justice and shield victims’ rights,” Jaskulski mentioned, noting he beforehand served as president of the Wisconsin Affiliation for Justice.

Jaskulski mentioned he at present serves as head of the Legislative Activity Drive, the place he lobbies in opposition to tort assessment designed to shut courthouse doorways.

“Fiegel’s case is basic instance of the horrible unintended outcome that closes the door to courthouses to the extra susceptible victims, the aged. We now have been lobbying for many years for adoption of Household Justice Invoice, which might appropriate the unintended statutory anomaly that doesn’t permit these claims, however permits these instances in wrongful deaths out on our highways. It simply doesn’t make a number of sense,” Jaskulski mentioned.

Throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal, Kenosha County-based Legal professional Paul Gagliardi mentioned, “We supplied testimony from grownup kids of alleged medical negligence to hopefully persuade legislature to amend the medical negligence statute and proper this loop gap.”

In 2007, Jaskulski and Keith R. Clifford additionally testified earlier than the Wisconsin Senate Well being and Human Providers Committee on behalf of the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Legal professionals on Senate Invoice 138.

“Wisconsin legislation ought to shield all residents who’re harmed by the negligence of others by permitting equal entry to our courts. The truth that we now have a system of justice in Wisconsin that affords much less safety to younger adults and the aged by successfully denying their households entry to our courts after they die due to a medical error is a major problem that must be corrected,” Jaskulski mentioned.

In accordance with Jaskulski, in 2008 the Household Justice Invoice was launched however didn’t advance within the Legislature as a result of Republican opposition. As soon as Scott Walker turned governor in 2011, it turned much more tough to advance the invoice, he mentioned.

“We known as the modification ‘The Household Justice Act.’ Regardless that there have been many legislators keen to help the invoice it by no means gained traction. That is politics in its worse type. Regardless that it doesn’t make sense, it’s pushed apart. We’ve tried to make voters conscious of such a injustice however realistically our efforts have fallen on deaf ears. It clearly hits residence when the injustice impacts your personal cherished one,” Gagliardi added.

Jaskulski famous redistricting of the Senate and Meeting District maps created a big Republican majority starting 2010, and Republicans have been in opposition to the measure.

“As a consequence, this invoice has gone nowhere because it was final launched as a result of there isn’t help from majority to maneuver the invoice ahead,” he mentioned, noting that previous to Walker turning into governor, “this was excessive on legislative agenda … entry to these searching for justice and entry to our courts.”

In 2010, the State Bar of Wisconsin reported the Household Justice Invoice handed the Senate and superior to the Meeting — the place it in the end died.

Since then, different legislators have tried to introduce measures to supply extra entry to justice for victims’ grownup kids.

Wisconsin Rep. Christine Sinicki (D – St. Francis, Cudahy, Milwaukee) launched Meeting Invoice 923, which says disabled grownup kids or grownup kids in faculty who’re financially depending on a mother or father who dies may search authorized motion.

Throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal on July 18, Rep. Sinicki mentioned she plans to introduce a bundle of measures when the Meeting returns in September.

“Kids, whether or not adults or not, ought to have the precise to primary: get solutions that they’re in search of; and quantity two: be compensated for his or her loss,” Sinicki mentioned.

In accordance with the invoice textual content from final session, “each minor and sure grownup kids have the precise to get well for lack of society and companionship and different damages if the mother or father is injured or dies as the results of medical malpractice.”

Though that invoice didn’t advance in 2022, Sinicki mentioned, she’s going to introduce the same measure within the subsequent legislative session together with different associated measures.

One other invoice Sinicki plans to introduce would require cameras in surgical procedure areas to assist preserve accountability.

“We have to know who’s doing what and what occurs when one thing goes flawed,” she mentioned.

Sinicki additionally famous that that is extremely partisan political challenge with Republicans traditionally opposing the Household Justice invoice. When requested why, she famous the “pay-play” historical past that Republicans have obtained donations from hospital associations who oppose the laws.

A Wisconsin Regulation Journal Investigation revealed the Wisconsin Hospital Affiliation donated greater than$383,000 to Wisconsin Republican candidates previously 26 years and $139,000 to Wisconsin Democrats.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2014 that Walker obtained greater than $186,000 in donations from doctor and hospital teams between 2006-2013, saying, “The medical foyer, supported by highly effective enterprise teams, outmaneuvered trial legal professionals as soon as once more this spring and received passage of the ‘I’m sorry’ invoice, which prohibits apologies by physician getting used as proof in malpractice lawsuits. Gov. Scott Walker signed the invoice into legislation in April.”

Within the meantime, Hollywood has taken notice of Wisconsin’s statutory hole in a movie known as Bleed Out.

The HBO movie references two instances that plaintiff’s attorneys say created the hole in legislation. The movie appears at Czapinski v. St. Francis Hospital, Inc., 236 Wis. 2nd 316 (2000) (and Lornson v. Siddiqui, 302 Wis. 2nd 519 (2007)) and Property of Wells v. Mt. Sinai Medical Heart, 183 Wis. 2nd 677 (1994).

Wells establishes a mother or father whose single grownup youngster dies has no declare. Czapinski establishes an grownup youngster doesn’t have the precise to get well for the lack of society and companionship of a mother or father who died as the results of medical malpractice.

“Each instances successfully shut out the power to hunt any justice because of the loss,” mentioned Jim Rogers, authorities affairs director for the Wisconsin Affiliation for Justice, throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal.

As beforehand reported by the Wisconsin Regulation Journal, each Froedtert hospital areas in Kenosha County (Nice Prairie and Kenosha) obtained the bottom security grades in your entire state, a “D.” Compared, Northwestern Medication Lake Forest Hospital, simply 25 miles south, obtained the absolute best grade, an “A.”

Throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal, Fiegel mentioned hindsight is 2020 and if she needed to do it another time she would have pushed the additional 25 miles and brought her mom to Northwestern Medication in Lake Forest, In poor health.

“By going to Northwestern, the end result can be for my mother to have the ability to stay her life for added years to come back,” Fiegel mentioned.

Froedtert isn’t any stranger to litigation. As beforehand reported by the Wisconsin Regulation Journal, preliminary approval was granted in June for $2 million class motion settlement in opposition to Froedtert. In 2023CV001935 Keefe John et. Al. vs. Froedtert Well being, Inc.

In that matter, Froedtert admitted no wrongdoing, however agreed to pay out a complete of $2 million to be divided amongst greater than 459,000 class motion members (much less charges and bills).

Throughout an interview with the Wisconsin Regulation Journal, Chicago-based Legal professional David Almeida, who represented the category members, mentioned, “the defendant agrees to not use pixels on public going through web sites, and likewise on the affected person portal, as part of settlement Froedtert additionally agreed not use pixel on public going through web site for sure period of time.”

In 2018, TMJ4 reported practices at Froedtert/Medical School of Wisconsin could have brought on avoidable deaths for sufferers ready on life-saving organs, which captured the eye of Federal investigators.

As for Fiegel’s case, beneath present Wisconsin legislation, attorneys have mentioned she has no recourse.