APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
528 N.E.2d 362, 174 Ill. App. 3d 351, 123 Ill. Dec. 817 1988.IL.1309
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and McMORROW, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
Plaintiff, Ella Dawson, filed a medical malpractice action against St. Francis Hospital and doctors Isaac Thapedi and Roy Lacey, seeking damages in connection with her disc surgery and post-operation infection. The trial court dismissed the complaint as to the doctors pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 103(b) (107 Ill. 2d R. 103(b)), for lack of diligent service, and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant hospital.
On appeal, plaintiff contends that she was not given a fair opportunity to be heard when the Supreme Court Rule 103(b) motions were decided; that the court abused its discretion in granting defendants' motions; and that the court further erred in refusing to allow her to file an amended complaint.
Plaintiff was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Illinois, on June 4, 1981. Drs. Thapedi and Lacey operated on her back on June 15, 1981. On August 8, 1981, she was discharged from the hospital.
On June 14, 1983, one day before the two-year statute of limitations would have expired (using the date of surgery as the date of injury), plaintiff filed her complaint against defendants. Dr. Thapedi was not served until September 10, 1985. Dr. Lacey was served on December 6, 1985. *fn1
Plaintiff attempted to serve Dr. Lacey on June 22, 1983, July 13, 1983, April 18, 1984, October 30, 1985, and November 8, 1985. Finally, 31 months after the suit was filed, she effected service on Dr. Lacey.
Plaintiff made five attempts in 28 months to serve Dr. Thapedi, twice in one month of 1983, once in April 1984, and twice in September 1985, including the successful attempt.
The record reveals that there were numerous continuances of defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of diligent service. Finally, the trial court entered an order setting December 5, 1986, as the final date for hearing on the motions to dismiss and the hospital's motion for summary judgment. This December 5 hearing date had been specially set on December 3, ...