APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION
536 N.E.2d 882, 181 Ill. App. 3d 76, 129 Ill. Dec. 832 1989.IL.368
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Dean J. Sodaro, Judge, presiding.
Rehearing Denied April 29, 1989.
JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court. EGAN, P.J., and SCARIANO, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HARTMAN
This appeal arises from the circuit court's order granting defendant-appellee Dr. Joseph Cannon's (defendant's) motion for summary judgment, based on section 13-212 of the medical malpractice statute of limitations (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 13-212).
James McIntyre (plaintiff) was born on September 13, 1963. On July 7, 1970, when plaintiff was six years old, defendant performed surgical repair of a hernia previously diagnosed by Dr. John R. Krolikowski, the family physician. Thereafter, plaintiff never again saw defendant.
At all times prior to and following the hernia surgery, plaintiff's testicles were undescended, according to plaintiff's affidavit, and at that time he did not know he had testicles, nor did he have any mass in that area or other indications that testicles were in fact present, but undescended.
Plaintiff visited Dr. Krolikowski regularly during grade and high school, at least once each year for physical examinations which included procedures wherein the doctor examined his genital area. Notwithstanding these procedures, Dr. Krolikowski never advised plaintiff or his mother, who accompanied him to the examinations until he reached high school age, that anything was wrong or abnormal with plaintiff's genitalia. Plaintiff was not concerned about his missing testicles because of reassurances from Dr. Krolikowski that "[everything] [was] fine," and assumed the condition was "a direct part and parcel" of the hernia surgery.
Around the time plaintiff entered his freshman year of high school, he began noticing he had "less in the way of testicles than the other guys." Throughout high school, he was self-conscious about his lack of testicles, but was never ridiculed by the other boys. He never confided in his parents or friends about his condition, not wishing to draw attention to himself. Because of Dr. Krolikowski's reassurances, he never thought something was "wrong,' however.
Plaintiff became 18 years of age on September 13, 1981. From 1981 through 1984, when he worked for the Chicago Park District, plaintiff received mandatory preemployment physicals at the beginning of each summer from a Park District doctor. During the 1981-83 examinations, plaintiff could not recall whether the doctor asked him about any genital problems.
In December of 1983, when he was 20 years old, plaintiff developed a kidney stone for which he underwent surgery, performed by Dr. Frederick Wohlberg. Following the surgery, Dr. Wohlberg advised plaintiff he had undescended testicles. This was the first time plaintiff was aware that he even had testicles. He averred he previously had no reason to believe any remedial measures could have been taken regarding his condition and had no knowledge of the medical implications of undescended testicles. The next day, plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure that attempted to lower his testicles.
In an affidavit, Dr. Wohlberg stated that based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, defendant deviated from the appropriate standards of care in the earlier treatment of plaintiff's hernia, which required: detection of plaintiff's condition of undescended testicles in an examination that should have followed the surgery; ...