APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT
513 N.E.2d 157, 160 Ill. App. 3d 184, 111 Ill. Dec. 911 1987.IL.1296
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. Thomas M. Ewert, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WOMBACHER delivered the opinion of the court. HEIPLE and STOUDER, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOMBACHER
Plaintiff, Amy Blair, brought this medical malpractice action seeking damages against defendant, Dr. Ernest Blondis. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently removed a mass in her left breast. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant and plaintiff appeals.
Amy Blair consulted Dr. Ernest Blondis on January 12, 1981, because of problems she was having which included hot flashes, an upset stomach, and general irritability. A physical exam revealed a mass in the upper outer quadrant of her left breast. The plaintiff testified in her deposition that Dr. Blondis "indicated that he thought it might be cancerous; therefore, I shouldn't wait; that I should go into the hospital immediately and have it taken care of." Mrs. Blair also stated that Dr. Blondis told her that if the mass was cancerous he would have to remove the lump and whatever would go along with it.
Dr. Blondis arranged for her to go to Northlake Hospital the next day, January 13, 1981. A mammogram and ultrasound were performed on Mrs. Blair but the test results were inconclusive. Dr. Blondis told Mrs. Blair that she needed a biopsy. The night before surgery, the plaintiff signed a consent form so that Dr. Blondis could do a frozen biopsy section. Dr. Blondis testified that he performed an "excisional biopsy" and that he so informed the plaintiff.
Plaintiff testified that after she awoke from surgery, a thick dressing had been applied around her chest, covering both breasts. Plaintiff claimed that Dr. Blondis never told her that he was going to excise half her breast or perform an "excisional biopsy." The pathologist reported that the size of the tissue removed was 9 cm. by 9.5 cm. by 1.6 cm. The tissue that was removed was not cancerous. No frozen section or biopsy on a small section of tissue was done before Dr. Blondis removed the large section of tissue. After surgery no one from the hospital informed Mrs. Blair that half her breast had been removed.
The plaintiff first saw her left breast about one week after surgery during an office visit with Dr. Blondis in January of 1981. She testified that she was horrified and depressed about her appearance. Mrs. Blair stated, "As best I can recall, the nipple was stitched up and over. It was totally out of line with the right breast." When she asked Dr. Blondis why she looked the way she did, he replied, "that is because that's the way I had to do it." She discontinued seeing Dr. Blondis at the end of January 1981.
The plaintiff then went to see a plastic surgeon, Dr. Edward Leary, because she was concerned about making her breasts symmetrical. Mrs. Blair requested that Dr. Leary perform reconstructive surgery but he wanted to wait six months before operating on her. Mrs. Blair did not want to wait that long so she decided to consult another plastic surgeon, Dr. Vijay Kumar, in February of 1981. The plaintiff asked Dr. Kumar whether it was necessary to have so much of her breast removed and he said "possibly not."
In late February 1981, Dr. Kumar operated on Mrs. Blair by grafting skin from her arms and legs to the breast. In August 1981, Dr. Kumar again operated on Mrs. Blair to release and center the nipple. In September 1981, Dr. Kumar performed implant surgery to equalize the size of her breasts.
In mid-1984, Mrs. Blair applied for a variable life insurance policy. Mrs. Blair stated that the insurance agent told her that what was done by Dr. Blondis never should have been done to her. Mrs. Blair then sought legal advice for the first time. Mrs. Blair stated that this was when she first became aware that no frozen section or biopsy on a small section of tissue was done before Dr. Blondis removed the large section of tissue in the "excisional biopsy." Plaintiff filed suit on December 31, 1984, seeking to recover damages for the alleged negligent treatment by Dr. Blondis.
At the time Dr. Blondis operated on Mrs. Blair, she was single and her name was Amy Bedell. She was living with William D. Blair, whom she subsequently married. Before the trial commenced, the trial court granted plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude any ...