United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
LISA FERRELL, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Jordan Dixon, deceased, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
before the Court is the government's motion for summary
judgment (Docs. 27 & 30). Plaintiff opposes the motion
(Doc. 29). Based on the following, the Court denies the
February 22, 2016, Lisa Ferrell, as special administrator of
the estate of Jordan Dixon, deceased, filed a lawsuit based
om the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2674
(“FTCA”) against the United States of America
(Doc. 1). Count I is a claim for wrongful death under
Illinois law, 740 ILCS § 180/1, et seq., and Count II is
a for survival claim under Illinois law, 755 ILCS §
5/27-6. The complaint alleges that Dr. Robert Quaas, a
pediatrician and an agent of the United States of America,
prescribed minocycline to Jordan Dixon, and: 1) negligently
and carelessly failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of
an adverse drug reaction or DRESS syndrome; 2) negligently
and carelessly failed to diagnose an adverse drug reaction or
DRESS syndrome; 3) negligently and carelessly failed to
attribute the signs and symptoms of an adverse drug reaction
or DRESS syndrome to minocycline; 4) negligently and
carelessly failed to recommend the immediate discontinuation
of minocycline; and 5) negligently and carelessly failed to
appropriately treat Jordan's adverse drug reaction.
Jordan died on December 21, 2014. The complaint seeks $10
million in damages.
February 24, 2017, the government moved to exclude the
testimony of plaintiff's expert Dr. Roy M. Colven (Doc.
22). Ferrell filed an opposition to the motion to exclude
(Doc. 23). Thereafter, the government filed this motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 27), plaintiff filed her opposition
(Doc. 29) and the government filed its reply (Doc. 30). In
the meantime, the Court denied the government's motion to
exclude on March 23, 2017 (Doc. 28). As the motion for
summary judgment is ripe, the Court turns to address the
2, 2014, Dr. Quaas, a pediatrician employed by the Southern
Illinois Healthcare Foundation (“SIHF”), a
federally qualified health center, prescribed minocycline, an
antibiotic, to Jordan Dixon, a teenager, as treatment for
acne. Dr. Quass prescribed 60 pills to Jordan.
1, 2014, Jordan presented with a three-day illness to St.
Elizabeth's Urgicare Center (“Urgicare”). His
symptoms included fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting and a
diffuse itchy rash, and the Urgicare physician diagnosed him
with a viral syndrome. Minocycline was included as a reported
medication, but “drug allergy” was not considered
in the differential diagnosis. The Urgicare physician
prescribed azithromycin, which Jordan began taking. Dr.
Colven's report states that, “Presumably, Jordan
continues taking minocycline” after this July
3, 2014, Jordan visited Dr. Quaas and presented with fever,
rash and oral lesions, and Dr. Quaas became concerned that
Jordan had measles. Dr. Quaas referred Jordan to Cardinal
Glennon Children's Hospital's Emergency Department.
When seen at Cardinal Glennon later on July 3, 2014,
Jordan's mother did not mention minocycline. She did
mention that Jordan was taking griseofulvin for a scalp
infection. A possible drug allergy to azithromycin was
suspected, and Cardinal Glennon instructed Jordan to stop
taking the azithromycin. Tests for measles and mononucleosis
were negative. Dr. Colven states that, “Because there
is no record of anyone telling Jordan or his mother to stop
the minocycline, after two medical encounters on July 3, he
presumably continues it.”
time of the July 3, 2014, Cardinal Glennon ER visit, Jordan
had signs of liver inflammation and abnormal kidney function.
Lab tests ruled out strep, mononucleosis, and the measles.
Cardinal Glennon sent Jordan home with a diagnosis of a drug
reaction due to azithromycin with possible mononucleosis.
returned to Dr. Quaas's office on July 8, 2014,
presenting with a rash, low grade fever, pharyngitis, liver
and spleen enlargement, facial swelling, and joint pain and
swelling. Dr. Quaas suspected Epstein Barr Virus
(“EBV”), ordered more testing, prescribed
prednisone, and referred Jordan to Cardinal Glennon, which
admitted him on July 11, 2014.
about the time of the July 11, 2014 Cardinal Glennon
hospitalization, physicians there opined that Jordan had
DRESS syndrome due to minocycline use. The presence of
eosinophilia on July 11 was helpful in diagnosing a
medication reaction because high eosinophilia counts are not
expected to result from a viral infection. The diagnosis of
DRESS included a “history of taking minocycline for the
previous month and a half.” On July 11, Jordan's
mother told Cardinal Glennon that Jordan stopped taking
minocycline when the rash started.
four hospitalizations, Jordan died on December 21, 2014 at
Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. The death
certificate lists the cause of death as myocarditis; DRESS
syndrome, RSV; and Rhinovirus, Enterovirus.