Doctor and practice seek dismissal of medical malpractice lawsuit: East Alton

On May 8, 2015, a complaint was filed by Rita Ford of East Alton against Drs. Theodore L. Vander Velde and Guy Aton, as well as Midwest Radiological Associates and BJC Medical Group of Illinois for putting off an emergency lumber surgery for too long.


Ford claimed in her complaint that on October 25, 2013, she suffered “incapacitating low back pain and discomfort” just after waking up. The pain caused weakness and she was unable to walk. She alleged “numbness and a tingling sensation” which stretched from her feet to her lower back.


The suit states that after she was taken to Alton Memorial Hospital, where her family members asked the emergency room personnel to perform a lumbar MRI. The emergency room personnel refused to do so and told that they would do it only after instructions from her doctor. The complaint further states that Aton prescribed pain medication to Ford and ordered an MRI. No neurological consultation was ordered at this time. Ford’s MRI was forwarded back to Aton by Vander Velde, the very next day.


When the pain medication did not work, Ford’s family contacted Aton, who prescribed higher dosages of the pain medication but still didn’t order a consult.


Ford claimed that on November 25th she went to a neurosurgeon at St. Luke’s Hospital, who reviewed the MRI. An emergency lumbar surgery was performed by the neurosurgeon to repair an epidural abscess. After a week at St. Luke, Ford went to two rehabilitation facilities and was finally cleared for release on February 19, 2014.


A motion for dismissal was filed on June 15 by Defendants Aton and Fairview Heights Medical Group. They argued that the plaintiff had failed to provide a mandatory written report from a physician concluding that there was a reasonable cause for filing the complaint.


The defendants Aton and Fairview Heights Medical Group further claimed that “the healthcare report filed by plaintiff merely concludes that defendant was negligent by rendering care in a certain way. The report does not provide sufficient details that clearly describe the bases and reasons for the author’s conclusion.”


And also, stated that the damages and costs claimed by Ford exceeded the court’s minimum jurisdictional limit.


On August 3rd, Defendants Velde and Midwest Radiological Associates answered the complaint through their attorneys Jeffrey Glass and Jason Winslow of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Belleville.


The defendants argue that the alleged injuries were the result of “independent, intervening cause of which these defendants had no control and which were not known or reasonably foreseeable by these defendants.”


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