Madison County wants out of med mal complaint

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 26, 2008, 7:00am

Madison County wants to be dismissed from a medical malpractice complaint filed by Sharon Warlick of Alton who alleges she was treated with an unnecessary drug which led to the need for a liver transplant.

Represented by Donald Smith of Alton, the county argues Warlick's suit is a single count complaint against three defendants. The county argues that pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-603(b) each separate cause of action upon which a separate recovery might exist should be stated in a separate count or counterclaim.

Warlick filed suit against Robert Bruce, M.D., Madison County and the Madison County Health Department claiming that in August 2006 she was assessed by Bruce at the health department and was told that she had to be treated with the drug Isoniazid for nine months for a latent tuberculosis infection.

She claims she followed the advice and in May 2007, after following treatment for nine months, suffered symptoms of liver failure requiring treatment at Alton Memorial and then Barnes-Jewish for a liver transplant.

Bruce was the clinical physician and laboratory director at the Madison County Health Department during the time of Warlick's treatment, the complaint states.

According to the suit filed May 2, Bruce and other employees of the health department failed to inform her of the risks and alternative treatment instead of using Isoniazid.

Warlick also claims Bruce and health department employees wrongfully determined that she should be treated with Isoniazid, violated rules, regulations and guidelines of the American Thoracic Society and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention by initiating treatment for latent tuberculosis when it was not indicated, and wrongfully recommended and treated her with Isoniazid when it was not necessary.

She also claims Bruce failed to accurately record her history, failed to monitor her and failed to otherwise assess and treat her in a non-negligent manner.

The county argues that Warlick's affidavit pertaining to the healing arts malpractice fails to comply with the requirements of Section 5/2-622 because they pertain to Madison County and Madison County Health Department.

It also argues that there is no such entity as Madison County Health Department because it is only a department division of the County of Madison and therefore should be stricken as a named defendant.

Represented by Thomas Falb of Alton, Warlick claims she sustained severe bodily injury requiring multiple hospitalizations and procedures including a liver transplant and multiple stents which caused and will continue to cause pain, suffering, loss of a normal life, medical expenses and lost wages.

She is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Bruce filed his answer to Warlick's complaint on June 10, and denies that he was an agent working with the scope of his employment with the health department and Madison County.

Represented by James Cantalin of St. Louis, Bruce also denies that he treated Warlick in August 2006, or any other month, but admits she was assessed by nurses of the Madison County Health Department.

Bruce denied any other allegations and asks Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron to dismiss him from the suit.

Byron has yet to set a date to hear the motions.

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