Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed March 20, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Home Star Bank and Financial Services v. Emergency Care and Health Organization, Ltd., 2014 IL 115526

 

 

Appellate citation: 2012 IL App (1st) 112321.

 

 

††††† JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

††††† Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

 

In 2001, the injury victim in this case, Edward Anderson, was in the intensive care unit of Provena St. Maryís Hospital in Cook County, suffering from epiglottitis. A negligence action was later filed on his behalf, based on a severe and permanent brain injury which he suffered when an emergency room physician attempted to intubate him after responding to a Code Blue based on the patientís labored breathing and pain on swallowing. Anderson is now a disabled person. The emergency room physician, who is one of the defendants here, claimed immunity under the Good Samaritan Act of Illinois, and the circuit court of Cook County awarded summary judgment for the defense. The appellate court, however, reversed, and the Illinois Supreme Court, in this decision, agreed with that reversal.

The supreme court said that the purpose of the statute is to encourage volunteerism, while the physician in this case, although employed in the emergency room, was expected to respond to Code Blues at the hospital as part of his job. Therefore, the fact that no fee was charged for the medical treatment now being challenged as negligent is not determinative as to the immunity question.

The supreme court also upheld the appellate courtís remand to the circuit court for it to address the doctorís alternative theory in seeking summary judgment, i.e., that he had not deviated from the standard of care.