When you have a potential medical malpractice lawsuit against any of the county owned hospitals, such as John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, Provident Hospital, Oak Forest Health Center, Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, Community Clinics Ambulatory & Community Health Network Clinic, or Cermak Health Services, there are certain things you need to keep in mind that differ from other Cook County providers.
Most notably are that these entities have certain limitations on liability.
In the past, there were all kinds of notices that had to be given to them in addition to the usual malpractice lawsuit. Most of those notices have been abolished and these Cook County entities, like any Cook County provider, are subject to the two year statute of limitations with a four year limit with claims.
However, Cook County owned medical facilities do have one particular twist that still survives: If you have a potential medical malpractice claim with any of the Cook County entities, you should note that there may be a question of liability for failure to diagnose.
While medical providers in the Cook County system are held to the same standard of care as any other medical provider, there may be a limitation of liability for failure to diagnose cases as opposed to failure to treat cases.
For example, if a client is in the hospital for a broken rib, and x-rays are taken which should have revealed the presence of lung cancer, and there is a failure to diagnose the lung cancer, there may be a question of liability for any Cook County owned or operated medical provider. If, on the other hand, there is a known diagnosis of cancer and no steps are taken to either treat or provide medical services for the cancer, then liability will stand as with any other medical provider.
This quirk of law can really have an effect on the wording and allegations that are contained in a medical malpractice complaint. A skilled lawyer needs to carefully draft a medical malpractice complaint against a Cook County owned medical provider, and be especially careful on claims of failure to diagnose versus claims of failure to treat.