Threat of trial yields additional $1 million for …

Threat of trial yields additional $1 million for medical malpractice case: Glenview cancer victim receives $7.5 million for missed diagnosis

Richard L. Pullano secured an additional $1 million for a medical malpractice victim, bringing the total settlement to $7.5 million.

In 2003, a neurologist and neurosurgeon at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare failed to properly review an MRI film and X-ray that showed a cancerous growth on the spine of Glenview resident Michael Corbitt. An internist who identified the abnormality never informed Michael of the problem. The cancer continued to grow, causing his spine to collapse. Michael, a husband and father of two daughters, is now permanently disabled and lives with chronic pain.

In September 2009, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare settled for $6.5 million on behalf of the attending neurosurgeon and the neurologist.

The internist declined to take part in mediation. After a seven-day trial and during jury deliberations, the defendant’s insurance company this week offered their full policy limit of $1 million. The settlement was secured by Richard L. Pullano.

“People want to be involved in the process. Without knowledge of this specific medical problem, Michael could not be a patient advocate,” said Richard L. Pullano, lead attorney. “When it is a life-altering medical condition like this one, the stakes are too high to allow information to fall through the cracks.”

In 2003, Michael Corbitt sought treatment for lower back pain and numbness in his legs. An X-ray and MRI were conducted, from which his internist identified an abnormality on his thoracic vertebrae. The internist never informed Michael of the abnormality.

The internist referred Michael to a neurosurgeon and a neurologist but didn’t inform either doctor about the abnormality. The neurosurgeon failed to see the growth while the neurologist neglected to review the MRI film altogether. As a result, the tumor continued to grow, causing Corbitt’s spine to collapse and spinal cord to compress. Six complex and painful surgeries were required to stabilize his spinal column.

Michael Corbitt told the jury with strong conviction that, had he known about a possible tumor in his spine, he would have worked with his doctors to ensure the abnormality was addressed.

“This trauma has brought Michael Corbitt’s life to a standstill,” said his lead attorney, Richard Pullano. “These debilitating injuries have prevented him from participating in most activities, including playing a normal parental role in his daughter’s lives. Sadly, this all could have been prevented if adequate attention had been given to the films.”

The verdict was secured by Richard L. Pullano of the Law Offices of Richard L. Pullano, formerly Pullano & Karnezis.

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