Dan Harkins Jul. 15, 2015, 1:55pm

The widow of a man who died after an allegedly prolonged emergency surgery to correct a recent hernia repair is suing three doctors, their practices and supervising hospitals, alleging wrongful death.

Diane Ebert, as executor of the estate of Bruce E. Ebert, filed a lawsuit July 10 in Cook County Circuit Court against Dr. Alexander P. Nagle, Dr. Swamainadham Gmamasjamugam and Dr. Jonathan Wu, the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Silver Cross Health System, Silver Cross Hospital and Medical Centers and Precision Surgical Consultants, alleging 16 counts of wrongful death and survival action.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 30, Bruce Ebert received laparoscopic incisional hernia repair from Nagle at Northwestern Memorial, and after surgery, he complained of not being able to urinate, so a catheter was inserted. The next day, the lawsuit states, Ebert's abdomen was distended and he still couldn't urinate on his own and he also complained of having vomited overnight and nausea. Still, the lawsuit states, he was discharged that day with his Foley catheter in place.

On Feb. 4, the suit says ,Ebert visited Gmamasjamugam complaining of nausea and "significant pain." His abdomen was still distended and he was still retaining urine, the lawsuit states but still the doctor reassured the Eberts. The next day, the complaint states, Ebert went to the emergency department at Silver Cross Hospital and Medical Centers in New Lenox, complaining of abdominal pain and exhibiting hypotension and tachycardia.

A CT scan revealed his pelvis and abdomen were collecting gas and fluid, suggesting the potential for a bowel leak and/or abscess, the lawsuit states. Wu was consulted for a surgical procedure and was made aware of his symptoms, but he didn't perform emergency surgery, the suit says.

Wu saw Ebert the next day at the hospital and arranged with Nagle to have him transferred to Northwestern Memorial where at 6:39 p.m., Nagle performed: "an exploratory laparotomy with abdominal washout, repair of a small bowel enterotomy, removal and explant of synthetic abdominal wall mesh and placement of biologic Strattice mesh," the lawsuit states. Three days later, Bruce Ebert died.

Diane Ebert seeks damages of more than $800,000, plus costs, more than $50,000 for each count. She is represented by attorneys Bradley M. Cosgrove and Marta M. Kowalczyk of the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago. 

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015L007066.

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Northwestern Memorial Hospital
251 E Huron St
Chicago, IL 60611-2908

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