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09/24/87 Ruth Ann Myers Et Al., v. L. E. Williams

September 24, 1987

RUTH ANN MYERS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

v.

L. E. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

513 N.E.2d 1209, 160 Ill. App. 3d 707, 112 Ill. Dec. 600 1987.IL.1430

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Marion County; the Hon. William R. Todd, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE KASSERMAN delivered the opinion of the court. KARNS, P.J., and WELCH, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KASSERMAN

The circuit court of Marion County entered judgment upon a jury verdict in favor of defendant, Dr. L. E. Williams, and against plaintiffs, Ruth Ann and Larry Ray Myers, on plaintiffs' malpractice claim. Plaintiffs have perfected the instant appeal. The facts are as follows.

On August 24, 1983, at approximately 11 a.m., plaintiff Ruth Ann Myers, a cleaning lady, "felt something pull in [her] back" when she picked up the end of a couch while cleaning a client's house. She finished the cleaning job, went home, did her own housework and prepared dinner for her husband and herself. Since her back was still bothering her, Mrs. Myers called defendant, a chiropractor, at approximately 5 p.m. for an appointment. Mrs. Myers and her daughter went to defendant's office shortly thereafter. Mrs. Myers testified that she had no difficulties with either leg at that time.

Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Mrs. Myers arrived at defendant's office. After completing a form and having X rays taken of her spine, she was ushered into the treatment room, where defendant instructed her to lie face down on a padded table. Mrs. Myers testified that defendant performed "some kind of adjustments" while she was lying face down and that she felt intense pain radiating from her back down into her legs when she tried to roll over onto her side. Mrs. Myers testified that after defendant helped her to her side, he performed "some kind of adjustments" upon her back and her legs and that she continued to experience the same kind of pain. After defendant was finished, he helped Mrs. Myers off the table and guided her to her car; defendant walked backwards facing Mrs. Myers, his arms and hers locked together. She made an appointment with defendant for 8 o'clock the following morning.

Mrs. Myers testified that when she got home she needed assistance walking to the back steps. At the back steps she could not lift her legs, so her husband carried her up the steps, into the house and laid her down on a sofa where she spent the night. Although Mrs. Myers was able to change her clothing the following morning, she could not take a bath.

On August 25, 1983, Mrs. Myers, with the aid of crutches, walked from her car to defendant's treatment room for her appointment. After defendant helped place her on the examining table, Mrs. Myers testified that defendant "[put] his hands on my back" and that the pressure he exerted while doing so caused pain so intense that defendant had to stop. Defendant then rubbed something on Mrs. Myers' back and helped her off the table. Mrs. Myers thereafter left defendant's office on crutches with assistance from her son. Mrs. Myers made an appointment with defendant for the following day.

Mrs. Myers testified that when she arrived at her home, she walked with crutches from the car to the sofa, with assistance from her son in getting up the back steps. With the exception of going to the restroom, she stayed on the sofa until the following day. Mrs. Myers testified that during this time she felt excruciating pain emanating from her lower back into both legs, especially the left leg.

On August 26, 1983, Mrs. Myers, once again with the aid of crutches, walked from her car to the defendant's treatment room for her appointment. Mrs. Myers testified that after defendant helped her onto the examining table, he showed her a tool which he was going to use to exert pressure upon her back. During this treatment, Mrs. Myers continued experiencing the same pain. This was the last treatment Mrs. Myers received from the defendant.

Mrs. Myers testified that after this treatment she went home and lay on the sofa, where she remained for approximately 12 days. After this period, her condition improved and she was able to resume her occupation. However, she continued to feel pain radiating from her back into her lower legs. While cleaning a house on April 13, 1984, Mrs. Myers once again experienced intense back and leg pain. After driving home she called her husband, who took her to the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia, Illinois. Mrs. Myers testified that the emergency room physician took X rays and performed a CT scan, then gave her injections and a prescription for Demerol. This physician told Mrs. Myers that she should obtain further medical treatment from a specialist.

On April 17, 1984, Mrs. Myers was examined by Dr. John Kenney, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Kenney obtained a history, conducted a physical examination, and reviewed X rays, a lumbar myelogram and a CT scan and concluded that Mrs. Myers had an acute herniated disc at the L5-S1 level. On April 23, 1984, Dr. Kenney performed surgery on Mrs. Myers' lower back and removed a large herniated disc at the L5-S1 level. Dr. Kenney ...


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