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01/27/87 Deborah A. Wogelius, v. Dan Dallas Et Al.

January 27, 1987





504 N.E.2d 791, 152 Ill. App. 3d 614, 105 Ill. Dec. 506 1987.IL.59

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Angelo D. Mistretta, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE STAMOS delivered the opinion of the court. SCARIANO, P.J., and BILANDIC, J., concur.


Plaintiff, Deborah Wogelius, brought an action to recover damages occasioned by the alleged negligence of defendants in their treatment of plaintiff after a suicide attempt. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants, and plaintiff filed the instant appeal. Plaintiff contends herein that: (1) the trial court erred in granting defendant Holy Family's motion for summary judgment because there exists a question of law; (2) the trial court erred in granting defendant Dallas' motion for summary judgment because questions of law and fact exist as to the extent of the duty owed by defendant Dallas to plaintiff; (3) the trial court erred in dismissing plaintiff's complaint in which she alleged that defendant Dallas engaged in the unauthorized practice of psychology or psychiatry; and (4) defendant Dallas wrongfully submitted insurance claims under defendant Martin's provider number.

The record indicates that on October 5, 1983, plaintiff was admitted to defendant Holy Family Hospital (Holy Family) after an ingestion of drugs and alcohol caused her to attempt suicide. While Holy Family does not have a mental-health facility, defendant Dr. Geoffrey Levy (Levy), a psychiatrist, and Dr. Cucco, a gynecologist, visited the plaintiff the following morning at the request of plaintiff's attending physician, Dr. Abdul Kahn. Levy indicated in a consultative report that plaintiff might be discharged when she was physically able and opined that the circumstances of her admission were not indicative of a lethal intent. Levy referred plaintiff to outpatient treatment at Lutheran General Hospital, which maintained mental-health facilities. Plaintiff was discharged on October 9 by Dr. Kahn and Dr. Cucco.

On October 10, plaintiff telephoned Holy Family and asked to speak with Jeff Parker, M.S.W., a social worker at the hospital. Parker had visited plaintiff during her hospital stay and had been told by her that she was unable to afford private psychiatric fees; Parker asked plaintiff to call him upon her discharge if she would care for information regarding community mental-health resources. Parker initially advised plaintiff to contact Lutheran General Hospital at Levy's suggestion, but was told by plaintiff that she no longer lived near that facility. Plaintiff then requested from Parker the names of private therapists as well as sliding scale resources in the area of her new residence. Parker gave her the following names: Northwest Guidance Center in Des Plaines; Du Page Clinic in Park Ridge; Outreach Center of Memorial Hospital of Du Page County; Du Page County Health Department; and defendant Dr. Dan Dallas (Dallas), a State-certified clinical social worker and doctor of ministry engaged in the full-time practice of psychotherapy.

Plaintiff subsequently contacted Dallas for therapy treatment. Beginning on October 18, 1983, Dallas met with plaintiff on 11 occasions. On November 15, 1983, Dallas met in consultation with defendant Dr. Ronald Martin (Martin), a State-certified psychologist. Dallas and Martin had an agreement whereby Martin would review the cases of insured patients, such as plaintiff, and sign the necessary forms to assist these patients with financial reimbursement. Martin's signature and provider number were present on plaintiff's health insurance claim forms.

Dallas took a history of plaintiff's previous hospitalization and therapy treatment at the first session and was aware that she attempted suicide after an apparent drug and alcohol overdose. Dallas' progress notes indicate that Dallas diagnosed plaintiff as very depressive and with secondary anxiety or anger. Plaintiff described a disorganized family background and complained that her family never cared for any of her needs. Plaintiff told Dallas that she had attempted suicide on numerous occasions in her life. Plaintiff also complained that her supervisor at work was very hard on her. Plaintiff told Dallas of her relationship with a man she had been dating named Mike and informed Dallas that she was frightened that she might be pregnant.

When seen in December 1983, plaintiff told Dallas that she was experiencing less mood swings, was able to yell back at her supervisor, and had been more nutrition conscious. Plaintiff was perceived by Dallas as more positive in attitude and more able to communicate better with her family and Mike. Plaintiff told Dallas that she was able to "do it alone." On February 6, 1984, Dallas met with plaintiff for what he perceived to be their last session. Plaintiff reported that she was feeling good about herself and was doing well. Dallas closed plaintiff's file at the end of their meeting.

On May 5, 1984, plaintiff arrived at Dallas' office and requested an emergency counseling session. Plaintiff indicated that at the termination of the prior session she felt fine but told Dallas that she was feeling alone and upset and needed a supportive session to reassure her. Dallas and plaintiff discussed plaintiff's frustrations with her family, her supervisor, and her peers. They then explored options for therapy regarding more responsible behavior. The following week, plaintiff called Dallas and told him she would not be coming for her appointment; she asserted that she felt "okay." Dallas again closed his file on plaintiff.

On October 30, 1984, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants Dallas, Holy Family, Levy, and Martin. Plaintiff asserted therein that she was injured when in reliance on the treatment of Dallas, whom she alleged held himself out as a physician, she failed to receive proper medical treatment. Plaintiff further asserted that Holy Family's referral to Dallas breached its duty to recommend only qualified providers to their patients. This complaint was dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint in March 1985, which was dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. Plaintiff's second amended complaint, filed in May 1985, in which she asserted that Dallas held himself out as a physician in numerous ways causing her to forego alternative medical treatment for her allegedly diagnosed premenstrual syndrome condition, was also dismissed. After plaintiff's third amended complaint was dismissed, plaintiff filed a fourth and final amended complaint on September 9, 1985. On February 10, 1986, pursuant to defendants' motion, the trial court entered an order granting summary judgment, finding that plaintiff had failed to state a cause of action against any defendant and that no question of fact remained for jury resolution.

Plaintiff's first contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in granting Holy Family's motion for summary judgment because there exists a question of law. Specifically, plaintiff maintains that under the Illinois Hospital Licensing Act Requirements (77 Ill. Admin. Code ch. 1(b) (1986)), defendant Holy Family has a duty to supervise the care received by its patients and ...

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