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McLean County jury awards a $9.1 million verdict for a Bloomington woman's death

The basement of the McLean County Law & Justice Center had some flooding following last weekend's storms.
Eric Stock
A McLean County jury issued a $9.1 million verdict for a Bloomington family, following the 2019 death of a woman whose pancreatic cancer went undetected for more than two years.

A McLean County jury has found the former Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal responsible for a Bloomington woman's death from pancreatic cancer and awarded her estate $9.1 million.

Linda Smith of Bloomington died in 2019.

Her attorney, Jim Ginzkey, said doctors discovered a lesion in Smith's pancreas that went undetected for 2 1/2 years because the report got lost in the hospital's electronic medical records.

“I think the verdict reflects the fact that the jury was just appalled at what a local hospital did,” Ginzkey said. “That’s indefensible.”

Linda Smith died of pancreatic cancer in 2019.
Linda Smith died of pancreatic cancer in 2019.

Ginzkey said it was a case of human error and an error in the software Advocate BroMenn was using for its medical records.

“They never properly tested various updates with respect to the electronic medical records. They didn’t understand some of the complexity with respect to the software,” he said, adding the radiologist who discovered his earlier read of Smith’s CT scan was incorrect and went in to update her medical records should have alerted the doctor who ordered the test.

Ginzkey said Advocate BroMenn indicated the software problem was corrected in 2016, but that came two years after Smith’s lesion was detected.

“If you’ve had any imaging done at Advocate BroMenn between 2009 and the end of 2016, I think you need to go and find out, ‘Do I fall into this category?’” Ginzkey said. "I guarantee you there are other Linda Smiths in this community."

Smith learned she had pancreatic cancer in October 2016, according to court records. By then, the cancer had spread to her lungs. She died five months later.

The trial lasted about two weeks. The jury ruled Bloomington Radiology and the doctors providing Smith's care were not at fault.

Advocate BroMenn is now Carle BroMenn Medical Center, run by Urbana-based Carle Health. Carle BroMenn referred questions to Advocate Health Care.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the family,” Advocate said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our patients is always our top priority. This unfortunate situation was the result of a technical issue by a third-party vendor that has since been resolved.”

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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