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$4.25 Million Dollar Settlement Reached with Physician and Palos Community Hospital following Wrongful Death of 2-year-old boy

December 27, 2018

Medical malpractice attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC announced a settlement this month on behalf of their client, Allison Kutchinski, the mother of 23-month-old Ryan Kutchinski, Jr., who lost his life as a result of the negligent care provided by Palos Community Hospital (PCH) and Kaushik J. Pandaya, M.D. in October of 2011. As a result of the settlement, Kutchinski was awarded $4,250,000.

In its lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that Ryan presented to PCH after suffering from respiratory distress at home. Ryan was diagnosed with croup, given treatment, and discharged. He went on to suffer two additional events of recurrent respiratory distress within 14 hours, increasing in severity each occurrence, requiring emergency medical attention on each occasion.  This atypical presentation of croup required admission to a dedicated pediatric hospital with a PICU and healthcare providers that were experienced with pediatric respiratory distress in the likely event that Ryan would suffer from a fourth, more severe reoccurrence of Croup and respiratory distress. Rather PCH assigned Ryan to Dr. Pandya, an on-call pediatrician who was sleeping at home 20-30 minutes away from the hospital who declined to transfer Ryan to a facility with higher level of pediatric care, removed the orders for continuous pulse oximetry, decided that it was appropriate that respiratory therapists only monitor him every four hours, and declined to see Ryan until he did rounds at the hospital later that day.

“There was no opportunity for Ryan to be seen later that day,” said plaintiff’s attorney, Stephan D. Blandin, principal and partner at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. “Ryan’s atypical presentation of croup required continuous cardiac and pulse oximetry monitoring upon admission to the hospital at the very least. Instead, he went unmonitored for extended periods of time, leading to a code blue situation and failed intubation at PCH which like his diagnosis, was handled improperly.”

Plaintiff’s experts and Dr. Pandya agree that Ryan experienced an Adverse Life Threatening event. Had Ryan been continuous monitored in a facility with high level pediatric care, health care providers would have been able to intervene before Ryan suffered from complete respiratory failure leading to cardiac arrest and brain death. PCH did not have adequate pediatric healthcare providers or capabilities to handle Ryan’s condition which is why transfer to a pediatric facility was required. Additionally, there is evidence that the PCH code blue team, specifically the nurses and respiratory therapists, improperly performed CPR, specifically bag-mask ventilation, depriving Ryan of oxygen and further complicating the code.

Romanucci & Blandin Senior Associate Michael E. Holden and others also assisted in representing the plaintiff.

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