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$4.7M Judgment Against St James Hospital, ER Doctor

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CHICAGO (STMW) – A Cook County Circuit Court jury has awarded $4.7 million to the family of a 49-year-old woman who was left brain dead after emergency room doctors at St. James Hospital of Olympia Fields failed to open her airways seven years ago.

Ted Fragogiannis, of Burbank, Georgia Tagalos’ son, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in May 2008 against the hospital and physicians Perry Marshall and Julie Mills, alleging negligence.

On Monday, jurors found the hospital and Marshall liable for damages but cleared Mills of any wrongdoing.

St. James Hospital spokesman Michael Shepherd issued a statement Tuesday that the hospital community was “deeply saddened,” by Tagalos’ death.

“Our hope is the family can find some comfort through this resolution,” according to the statement. “This extremely rare outcome is undoubtedly difficult for caregivers to bear and our hearts go out the Tagalos family.”

Matteson paramedics took Tagalos to the hospital’s emergency room at 1:45 p.m. July 9, 2006, and when she arrived, she was grasping at her throat and unable to speak due to an asthma attack, according to the lawsuit.

It says doctors, including Marshall, unsuccessfully tried to insert an air tube down her throat six times in 10 minutes, resulting in Tagalos incurring severe and irreversible brain damage due to lack of oxygen. She was taken off life support three days later.

Attorney Mark McKenna, one of the lawyers for Fragogiannis, said Tagalos was a “young woman and her family has been grieving and still grieves for her. It really affected their lives. The jury’s verdict shows how significant the loss was.”

Besides Fragogiannis, 38, Tagalos was survived by her husband Frank Tagalos, 58, of Justice.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)