Vietnam Veteran’s Wrongful Death Awarded $7 Million Verdict
A Cook County Circuit Court jury recently awarded $7 million to the family of Patrick Stein, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after nurses and paramedics failed to keep him safe in an ambulance transfer from St. James-Olympia Fields hospital to the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital for psychiatric treatment. The 64-year-old Army veteran died in July 2014, after his PTSD confusion resettled and prompted him to exit an ambulance while it was traveling 30 to 35 miles per hours and sustain fatal injuries to his head and body. Prior to his transfer, his concerned family had brought him to the St. James-Olympia Fields emergency room after finding him outside his daughter’s home with a butcher knife clutched to his abdomen. Once Mr. Stein arrived at the hospital though, he did not remember the episode with the knife and continued to present dangerous confusion, prompting his fatal ambulance ride to the VA hospital. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans.
Levin & Perconti attorneys Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought the suit on behalf of Mr. Stein’s family. The attorneys argued that Mr. Stein, given his medical history, should have been carefully monitored by medical staff to protect and prevent him from injuring himself during the transfer. Hospital nurses were also faulted for failing to relay information to the paramedics about his mental state. The clinical impressions of the medical staff at St. James indicated Mr. Stein to exhibit:
- altered mental status
- acute confusion
- suicidal behavior
Medical records also revealed that he had a history of PTSD and that his actions prior to arrival at the hospital caused him to be a potential danger to himself or others. The team of paramedics claimed they were unaware that Mr. Stein was a psychiatric patient and a danger to himself due to the lack of information on the transfer form. The hospital and nurses were sued for negligence under the Survival Act and the Wrongful Death Act. The ambulance company and paramedics were sued for willful and wanton conduct also under the Survival Act and Wrongful Death Act.
“He was a Vietnam war hero who risked his life for our country,” said Bonamarte. “Unfortunately, the events that Patrick witnessed during his service haunted him for years and contributed to his mental illness. His family always trusted medical professionals to do right by my him by caring for him and protecting his safety.”
The Legal Team at Levin & Perconti Can Help Your Family
If you believe that your loved one has suffered a wrongful death due to a failure by medical staff, you may be entitled to compensation and we are here to help you. Call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to speak with a lawyer. You may also contact us online through our website to set up a case evaluation consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
All consultations are free, and we work on a contingent fee basis so there are no fees for our services unless we successfully resolve your case.