Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Baby's Death After Plastic Surgery

In Alm v. Loyola University Medical Center, 373 Ill. App. 3d 1, 5, 866 N.E.2d 1243, 310 Ill. Dec. 641 (2007) a two-month-old infant died the day after receiving plastic surgery to fix a cleft lip and palate. The parents sued the plastic surgeons and anesthesiologist, alleging they failed to properly monitor the infant during surgery and improperly discharged her following surgery. The circuit court barred the plaintiffs' proposed expert, a pathologist. In affirming, we found the expert's deposition testimony failed to establish he had any experience with the methods, procedures, and treatments at issue--those pertaining to the postoperative care of infants and "discharge decisionmaking." Alm, 373 Ill. App. 3d at 6. The expert's training and experience involved the examination of tissue samples from the living and the deceased; he had not evaluated a live patient in about 20 years and had not treated a pediatric patient for even longer. The expert testified he " 'deals with' " plastic surgeons but he did not consider himself an expert in plastic surgery. Alm, 373 Ill. App. 3d at 6. His only training in anesthesiology was part of a rotation while a resident approximately 25 years earlier. He was unable to recall ever discharging a patient and could not identify the applicable standard of care.