$5 Million Settlement in Brain Damage Case


Northwest Community Hospital has reached a $5 million settlement with a woman and her family who alleged that the treatment she received at the Arlington Heights hospital left her with brain damage.

Urmila Patel, 64, and her husband will receive the settlement as approved by Cook County Judge James N. O’Hara. Also named as defendants in the case were Northwest Community Hospital, and doctors Venkata Behara, Tina Han and Andrew Peck. Although the trial for the case was scheduled to begin this month, a settlement was approved out of court on December 30, 2015.

Court documents indicate that Urmila Patel went to the emergency room of Northwest Community Hospital on May 5, 2011. Patel was confused, progressively weakening and may have had a seizure in the ER. Testing purportedly indicated that she had a low serum sodium level.

Behara, of Nephrology Associates of Northern Illinois and Indiana, purportedly made an initial diagnosis of severe hyponatremia, very low sodium in the blood and prescribed a sodium solution. Han then took over the case and continued the prescribed therapy. After two days, the therapy was discontinued.

Patel remained at Northwest Community Hospital until May 11, 2011, when she was transferred to University of Illinois Hospital. A new diagnosis was given that Patel suffered from potine myelinosis, an injury to the myelin sheaths in the brain. Myelin sheaths surround the core of a nerve fiber or axon and facilitate transmission of nerve impulses.

As a result, Patel was under care in a nursing home from May 2011 until December 2014, when her condition improved enough to allow her to return home. She allegedly still has physical limitations surrounding the use of her hands and legs.

Legal counsel for Patel said in a statement that her potine myelinosis was caused by the sudden increase of sodium during treatment.

Legal counsel for Northwest Community Hospital released a statement that the final settlement in the case does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability on the part of the hospital or the doctors.

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