Plaintiff alleges Medical Negligence Against Healthcare Providers

A grieving family is seeking justice after a court ruling barred crucial evidence in a medical negligence case. On June 24, 2024, Lolita McCaley, the Independent Administrator of the Estate of Marshana McCaley, filed an appeal in the Appellate Court of Illinois against Dr. Polina Petrovic and her associated medical entities.

The case revolves around the tragic death of 17-year-old Marshana McCaley following a tonsillectomy. Twelve days post-surgery, Marshana presented at Advocate Trinity Hospital with severe leg and buttock pain. Despite undergoing an ultrasound interpreted by Dr. Petrovic as normal, she was discharged with a muscle strain diagnosis. Two days later, Marshana collapsed and never regained consciousness, passing away on October 2, 2016. The plaintiff argues that Dr. Petrovic’s misreading of the ultrasound led to an undiagnosed blood clot that caused a fatal pulmonary embolism.

The trial court initially ruled in favor of all defendants. However, on appeal, Lolita McCaley contends that she was unfairly barred from presenting rebuttal evidence after the defense introduced a new theory attributing Marshana’s death to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy rather than a pulmonary embolism. Dr. Dan Fintel testified for the defense, claiming that Marshana’s death resulted from an acute myocardial infarction due to preexisting heart conditions—a theory not anticipated by the plaintiff’s initial disclosures.

The plaintiff sought to introduce Dr. Aaron B. Waxman as a rebuttal witness to counter this new causation theory but was denied by both the motion judge and subsequently by the trial judge on reconsideration grounds. The appellate court found this exclusion constituted an abuse of discretion as it prevented the plaintiff from adequately responding to the defense’s new argument.

McCaley’s legal team argues that without Dr. Waxman’s testimony addressing cardiac evidence and supporting their original theory of pulmonary embolism leading to death, they were deprived of a fair trial. They are seeking reversal and remand for a new trial against Dr. Petrovic and Chicago Imaging while affirming the verdict favoring Advocate Health based on agency findings.

Representing Lolita McCaley are attorneys who emphasize that barring such critical rebuttal evidence undermines justice for Marshana’s untimely death due to alleged medical negligence.

This article was first published in Cook County Record.

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