Michigan Ave. Nat. Bank v. County of Cook, No. 88286.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Citation191 Ill.2d 493,732 N.E.2d 528,247 Ill.Dec. 473
Docket NumberNo. 88286.
PartiesMICHIGAN AVENUE NATIONAL BANK, As Special Adm'r of the Estate of Cynthia Collins, Deceased, Appellant, v. THE COUNTY OF COOK et al., Appellees.
Decision Date15 June 2000

732 N.E.2d 528
191 Ill.2d 493
247 Ill.Dec.
473

MICHIGAN AVENUE NATIONAL BANK, As Special Adm'r of the Estate of Cynthia Collins, Deceased, Appellant,
v.
THE COUNTY OF COOK et al., Appellees

No. 88286.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

June 15, 2000.


732 N.E.2d 531
Jeffrey M. Goldberg and Michael V. Marsh, of Jeffrey M. Goldberg & Associates, Ltd., of Chicago, for Appellant

Richard A. Devine, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Patrick T. Driscoll, Thomas M. Burnham, Jason B. Garvis and Marcie Thorp, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for Appellees.

Joel H. Greenburg and Mark Szaflarski, of Chicago, for amicus curiae Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Justice McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court:

At issue in this appeal is whether defendants, a local public entity and its employees, are immune from liability under sections 6-105 and 6-106 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act) (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq. (West 1992)). Plaintiff, Michigan Avenue National Bank, as special administrator of the estate of decedent Cynthia Collins, filed in the circuit court of Cook County a medical malpractice action against Cook County, Cook County Hospital, Drs. Barbara Weiss and Mohammed Ali, and nurses Mary LeBlanc, Lisa Ferrill, and Irma Garcia. Plaintiff alleged that Collins died as a proximate result of defendants' negligence. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that because they were immune from liability pursuant to sections 6-105 and 6-106 of the Tort Immunity Act, they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. While the summary judgment motion was pending, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed nurses Ferrill and Garcia as defendants. The trial court thereafter granted summary judgment as to the remaining defendants. On appeal, plaintiff argued that defendants were not immune from liability under the Tort Immunity Act. A majority of the appellate court affirmed the trial court's judgment. 306 Ill.App.3d 392, 239 Ill.Dec. 713, 714 N.E.2d 1010. We allowed plaintiff's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill.2d R. 315(a). In addition, we granted the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association leave to submit a brief as amicus curiae. 155 Ill.2d R. 345. We now affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

BACKGROUND

On September 22, 1986, Cynthia Collins visited the Fantus Family Planning Clinic, operated by Cook County Hospital. Collins, who was 21 years old at that time, underwent a physical examination, during which a nurse palpated a lump in Collins' left breast. The clinician form completed by the nurse described the lump as a "soft, non-tender, 2×3 cm, cystic mass." A "consultation request form" was also completed by the nurse, referring Collins to the hospital's Breast Oncology Clinic for an appointment on October 22, 1986. This form reflects that the nurse requested that the Breast Oncology Clinic "please evaluate" the mass discovered in Collins' left breast, and noted that Collins' "mother died of breast cancer."

On October 22, 1986, Collins kept her appointment at the Breast Oncology Clinic, and was examined by defendant nurse

732 N.E.2d 532
practitioner Mary LeBlanc. A report signed by LeBlanc and initialed by an unidentified doctor noted that Collins' mother had suffered from breast cancer, and described Collins' breast condition as follows: "Bilateral nodularity. No definite masses, nodes. Positive left axillary lymph node-freely moveable. Negative nipple discharge." The report from this visit indicates that Collins was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease, and that Collins was advised to return to the Breast Oncology Clinic three months later, in January 1987. This report further reveals that Collins was "instructed about self-breast exam monthly" and advised to "keep clinic appointment."

In December 1986, Collins made two visits to the emergency room of Cook County Hospital, and, on both occasions, was treated by Dr. Albion, who was not named as a defendant in the instant action. On December 19, 1986, Collins sought treatment because she had missed her menstrual period and was suffering from abdominal pain. Collins also indicated on this occasion that she had experienced soreness in her breasts for one months' duration. At this time, no treatment was administered for Collins' breast pain. On December 29, 1986, Collins sought treatment for abdominal cramps and vaginal discharge.

On January 22, 1987, Collins again returned to the emergency room of Cook County Hospital. The emergency department record indicates that Collins had complained of vaginal discharge, and, after examination, it was discovered that she was suffering from a threatened spontaneous abortion. The emergency department record also states that Collins had been previously diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease. During this hospital visit, Collins was also seen by Dr. Barbara Weiss, an obstetrician/gynecologist who is a named defendant in this action. In a record entitled "Initial Pregnancy Profile," Dr. Weiss indicated that during Collins' physical examination, she discovered a "cyst" in Collins' inner, mid-right breast. At the conclusion of Collins' hospital visit, the emergency room record reflects that Collins was advised to have bed rest and drink fluids. No treatment was rendered with respect to Collins' breasts.

On February 10, 1987, Collins returned to Cook County Hospital's Fantus Clinic, where she was examined by defendant Dr. Mohammed Ali. In a form entitled "Progress Notes," Dr. Ali indicates that Collins had a "D & C" for an incomplete spontaneous abortion on January 26, 1987, and that, since that time, Collins had experienced vaginal discharge. Dr. Ali's progress notes also indicate that Collins was suffering from abdominal cramps for three weeks, and that Collins complained of "sharp" breast pain "off and on" for a three-week period. The record reveals that Dr. Ali performed a pelvic examination of Collins, wrote that Collins' breasts were "within normal limits," and recommended that Collins return to the hospital's Family Planning Clinic in three months and to the Gynecological Clinic in one year.

In August 1987, Collins became pregnant and obtained prenatal care at Mac-Neal Hospital/Rush Presbyterian through her employer's health care coverage. During a prenatal exam, Collins informed her physician of her family history of breast cancer, of the masses discovered in her breasts during her visits to Cook County Hospital, and of her previous complaints of breast pain. The physician instructed Collins to undergo a mammogram after the birth of her child. Collins delivered her baby in May 1988, and in July 1988, a biopsy revealed that Collins' left breast was cancerous and that the cancer had spread to her neck and arm area. A mastectomy was performed, and Collins thereafter underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Collins died of breast cancer in November 1989.

Plaintiff filed a two-count complaint seeking recovery for damages resulting from the alleged medical malpractice of

732 N.E.2d 533
defendants. Count I, which was brought pursuant to the Wrongful Death Act (Ill. Rev.Stat.1985, ch. 70, par. 1 et seq.), and count II, which was brought pursuant to the Survival Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1985, ch. 110½ par. 27-6), revolve around Collins' visits to Cook County health facilities from September 22, 1986, to February 10, 1987, and allege that defendants were negligent in five respects: (1) defendants "[f]ailed to order a mammogram when a lump was palpated in decedent's left breast"; (2) defendants "[f]ailed to properly and adequately perform examinations and tests on decedent"; (3) defendants "[f]ailed to perform a biopsy when a lump was palpated in decedent's left breast"; (4) defendants "[f]ailed to diagnose decedent's condition of breast cancer"; and (5) defendants "[f]ailed to administer proper, appropriate and necessary medical and nursing care and attention to the decedent." Plaintiff's complaint further alleged that "as a proximate cause of one or more of the foregoing negligent acts or omissions, [Collins] died on November 22, 1989."

Attached to plaintiff's complaint was an affidavit prepared in accordance with section 2-622(a)(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-622(a)(1) (West 1992)), wherein a physician opined that, after a review of Collins' medical records, there existed a reasonable and meritorious cause for plaintiff to file this action. Specifically, the physician stated that it was his opinion that defendants "negligently failed to perform a mammogram and/or immediate biopsy of the lump in [Collins'] left breast, given her family history of breast cancer and her presentation to these Cook County Hospital physicians and health care providers with a lump in her left breast."

In their answer to plaintiff's complaint, defendants admitted that Collins had been under their care. However, defendants denied any wrongdoing with respect to Collins' care and treatment, and affirmatively alleged that they were immune from liability pursuant to sections 6-105 and 6-106 of the Tort Immunity Act. Specifically, defendants asserted that, under section 6-105, they were immunized from the "failure to make a physical * * * examination, or to make an adequate physical * * * examination" (745 ILCS 10/6-105 (West 1992)), and that section 6-106 provided immunity from liability "resulting from diagnosing or failing to diagnose that a person is afflicted with * * * physical illness" (745 ILCS 10/6-106(a) (West 1992)).

After the parties engaged in discovery, defendants moved for summary judgment. In their motion, defendants disputed neither the facts as alleged by plaintiff in its complaint nor the opinions of plaintiff's two medical experts. Instead, defendants asserted that, even assuming the truth of those facts and opinions, they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because they were statutorily immunized from liability pursuant...

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319 practice notes
  • Sandholm v. Kuecker, No. 2–09–1015.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2010
    ...or immunities have been determined not to violate section 12 of article I, as well. See Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 519–20, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000) (holding Tort Immunity Act did not violate constitutional right to remedy); Steffa v. Stan......
  • Choice v. YMCA of Mchenry Cnty., Nos. 1–10–2877
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 17, 2012
    ...has repeatedly withstood constitutional challenges under the certain remedy clause. See Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 519–20, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000) (upholding constitutionality of Tort Immunity Act against certain remedy clause challenge ......
  • Unzicker v. Kraft Food Ingredients Corp., No. 92838.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 21, 2002
    ...most reliable indicator of the legislature's objectives in enacting the particular law. Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 504, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000). When a statute's language is clear and unambiguous, courts may not read in exceptions, limit......
  • Evanston Ins. Co. v. Riseborough, No. 114271.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • February 21, 2014
    ...statute itself. Id. The statutory language must be given its plain and ordinary meaning. Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 504, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000). “[W]here an enactment is clear and unambiguous a court is not at liberty to depart from the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
319 cases
  • Sandholm v. Kuecker, No. 2–09–1015.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2010
    ...or immunities have been determined not to violate section 12 of article I, as well. See Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 519–20, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000) (holding Tort Immunity Act did not violate constitutional right to remedy); Steffa v. Stan......
  • Choice v. YMCA of Mchenry Cnty., Nos. 1–10–2877
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 17, 2012
    ...has repeatedly withstood constitutional challenges under the certain remedy clause. See Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 519–20, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000) (upholding constitutionality of Tort Immunity Act against certain remedy clause challenge ......
  • Unzicker v. Kraft Food Ingredients Corp., No. 92838.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 21, 2002
    ...most reliable indicator of the legislature's objectives in enacting the particular law. Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 504, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000). When a statute's language is clear and unambiguous, courts may not read in exceptions, limit......
  • Evanston Ins. Co. v. Riseborough, No. 114271.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • February 21, 2014
    ...statute itself. Id. The statutory language must be given its plain and ordinary meaning. Michigan Avenue National Bank v. County of Cook, 191 Ill.2d 493, 504, 247 Ill.Dec. 473, 732 N.E.2d 528 (2000). “[W]here an enactment is clear and unambiguous a court is not at liberty to depart from the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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