Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center to pay millions in malpractice lawsuit

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center was ordered to pay over $2.3 million in damages to a Tuscola man after a jury sided against them in a malpractice suit.

“We were surprised and disappointed by the jury’s verdict, and we are investigating whether we will appeal the case,” said Patty Peterson, director of public relations for the hospital.

The hospital was found guilty of malpractice in the lawsuit after attorneys Ryan Yagoda and Alex Sukhman, who defended plaintiff Clinton Dean Lovell, said the multiple surgeries and the artificial sphincter the plaintiff received were a result of a nurse going against doctor’s orders and administering an enema after a prostatectomy.

Peterson said she plans to appeal the case because the hospital’s defense is the plaintiff, while a patient, needed the surgeries because of an emergency fistula, or an abnormal link between epithelium-lined organs that do not normally connect.

Peterson said the hospital’s nurses and doctors acted in an emergency situation.

If the hospital does appeal the case, Yagoda and Sukhman would continue to represent Lovell.

They believe the hospital will appeal the case because it did not offer any amount of money in damages at any point in the case, Yagoda said.

“Sarah Bush admitted they were negligent in giving my plaintiff the enema, and yet they didn’t offer a cent,” Yagoda said.

He added the jury saw Lovell’s side of the case because of the significant dissention from hospital protocol in the case. Yagoda and Sukhman argued it is clearly represented in the hospital’s own policies that no one should be administered an enema upon recent prostate surgery, Yagoda said.

“Everyone knows that if you do an enema after prostate surgery there is a very high risk of perforating the rectum,” Yagoda said. “It is in pretty much every hospital and medical literature there is.”

The attorneys’ firm is currently working on several other malpractice cases against the hospital. They also settled for $580,000 for a malpractice suit in 2005 against the Coles County hospital.

Yagoda said the sum of money is significant and could be a record for Coles County; however, it is not a record for the firm.

Krystal Moya can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected].