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Romanucci & Blandin attorneys win $2 million verdict in a medical negligence trial against pediatric surgeon, Mark J. Holterman, MD

May 6, 2024

CHICAGO, IL (May 6, 2024)On May 3, 2024, a Peoria County, Illinois jury returned a verdict for a 13-year-old girl and against pediatric surgeon Mark J. Holterman, M.D. The jury found that Holterman was negligent as a surgeon regarding his treatment of the girl in 2011.  The jury awarded the girl more than $2 million in damages for her injuries.

From 2011 to 2017, Holterman was a pediatric surgeon at OSF Children’s Hospital in Peoria.  In July 2011, when the girl was 9 months old, she came to the hospital because of a choking episode.  Holterman examined her esophagus and found a piece of carrot.  He also found a narrowed area called a stricture.  He then dilated the stricture and caused a 2cm tear in her esophagus.  To treat the tear, he used a leftover adult airway stent to try and cover the tear, but he dropped it in her stomach.  The stent remained in her stomach for 11 months.  During the 11 months, the girl developed feeding problems as she was dependent on a feeding tube inserted through her abdomen into her stomach. 

The girl was represented at trial by Partners Joseph E. Kolar and Bruno R. Marasso and Senior Attorney Sarah M. Raisch of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, a national trial firm based in Chicago. Paralegals Lucy Gonzalez and Mason McClary provided valuable assistance on the case and trial as well. Founding Partner Stephan D. Blandin, Senior Paralegal Matt Dominguez and Legal Projects Coordinator Lindsey Blandin also contributed to the case.

The girl’s attorneys presented evidence that Holterman used an outdated device to dilate the girl’s esophagus.  He then used significant pushing pressure with the device and tore the esophagus.  Holterman claimed he was being innovative when he tried to place the adult airway stent in her esophagus.  He said he was trying to make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.  The stent had never been approved for use in the esophagus of a baby. 

“Holterman’s use of the stent was clearly contrary to standard treatment at the time, and the jury undoubtedly viewed the stent as experimental,” said Partner Joseph E. Kolar. 

“Our client feels vindicated by the verdict and feels a real sense of justice for her daughter,” said Partner Bruno R. Marasso.

The girl’s parents had no idea that the stent was not approved for use in the esophagus of a baby.  The girl’s mom at trial testified that she felt her daughter was a “guinea pig” when he used the stent without providing her full details on whether anyone else was using the stents as Holterman did.

The evidence was clear that Holterman took a routine procedure for our client and turned into an unnecessary injury for this young girl,” said Senior Attorney Sarah M. Raisch.   

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About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC

Romanucci & Blandin is a Chicago-based national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death through impact litigation. For more than 25 years, we have secured more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients - many for millions of dollars or record-setting awards. Our experience ranges from mass shootings, civil rights and police misconduct to medical malpractice, sexual abuse, motor vehicle accidents or workplace injury cases involving individual or institutional negligence. Romanucci & Blandin is a valuable legal resource to individuals and groups of people who have been injured by others’ wrongdoing. Referring attorneys and clients say several factors distinguish our firm: Our record of success, depth of experience, talented and dedicated legal team, tireless preparation, and strategic use of communications to fight for the rights of those whose lives have been changed forever. We differ from other personal injury firms in that our work does not stop when a verdict or settlement is secured. Our clients’ experiences often inspire us to commit resources to transforming lives and communities. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit:

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