Jury finds for doctor in Belleville medical malpractice suit

Amelia Flood May 3, 2010, 10:47am

A jury deliberated nearly five hours Friday before finding in favor of the emergency room doctor who was sued over the death of a child in 2000.

Plaintiff Ronnika Watson originally filed her complaint against Dr. Danuta Pikul and St. Elizabeth's Hospital in 2002. She voluntarily dropped that suit in 2007 before filing it again a year later.

Watson alleged that Pikul failed to properly monitor her 17 month-old son, Darrell Banks Jr., when he was brought to the hospital's emergency room in April 2000.

Initially diagnosed with a middle ear infection, the child's condition deteriorated.

Three hours after the child was admitted, he died.

His death was ruled to have been caused by a bacterial infection and complications related to it.

His mother alleged in her testimony during trial that Dr. Pikel never warned her that her son's lab results were abnormal and that the doctor told her she was about to discharge the child.

Pikul testified that she never told Watson that she was about to discharge her son. She testified that she ordered the lab to run its tests again when the child's test results did not correlate to his symptoms.

The trial opened April 26 and closing arguments were heard Friday morning.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson presided.

Watson was represented by Richard Hauser and Jonathan Andres.

Pikel was represented by James Mendillo and Shane Moskop.

St. Elizabeth's was dropped from the suit prior to its trial.

The case was St. Clair case number 08-L-332.

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