Wise Law Partners Kevin Burke secure $17 million settlement on behalf of a south suburban Chicago man who suffered significant brain injuries after providers failed to diagnose his infection in 2003 at the University of Chicago Medical Center, according to complaint in the case, Comasen Williams, etc., v. The University of Chicago Hospitals, No. 09 L 1173 D.

The settlement, approved by University of Chicago officials on March 5, 2014, allows Alexander Williams, 23, of Harvey, Illinois, to obtain daily care from nursing aides and the ability to undergo extensive physical and occupational therapy. Williams currently is confined to a wheelchair and has no use of the left side of his body or his left eye. He also has great difficulty speaking.

A March 9 Chicago Sun-Times article reported Williams visited the University of Chicago Medical Center emergency room on Sept. 6, 2003, with severe headaches, pain in his back and chest, a rapid heart rate, and a temperature of 101 degrees. Williams had endocarditis in 1996 and was born with a congenital heart defect. "His condition, says Burke, put Williams at an increased risk of developing an infection of the heart and heart vessels known as subacute bacterial endocarditis."

According to the American Heart Association (1) infective (bacterial) endocarditis (IE) is an infection of either the heart's inner lining (endocardium) or the heart valves. Infective endocarditis is a serious and sometimes fatal illness; two things cause it to occur: bacteria and a weakened heart.

Sadly, on September 6, 2003, the emergency room did not conduct tests for the condition. Instead, Williams was given ibuprofen and released, only to return two days later complaining of the same symptoms. After tests and the intervention of a cardiologist, the condition was eventually diagnosed. Because of the delayed diagnosis, Williams did not undergo surgery until 17 days later, and by that time, the infection had destroyed his heart tissue and resulted in the rupture of the artificial conduit.

"There is not enough money to compensate this young man for the loss of his normal childhood, but our settlement will help insure that he has the care and equipment he needs to live to his full potential. The heartbreaking part about this is that had they diagnosed his condition earlier by running the lab tests, he wouldn't be in this situation now. I am thrilled that he will now have the care he needs."

A July 2013 comprehensive review of numerous studies published in BMJ Open showed a failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosis accounted for anywhere from 26 percent to an incredible 63 percent of all malpractice claims.

Kevin Burke has achieved extraordinary results for his clients, particularly in the area of medical malpractice litigation. Chicago Magazine has described him as "one of the pre-eminent medical malpractice attorneys in Illinois," while Crain's Chicago Business designated him one of the city's "power players" in legal practice. He has secured for his clients more than 70 verdicts and settlements of more than $1 million dollars each, for a total of more than $400 million. He is recognized in the Top 10 lists of Illinois Super Lawyers and Illinois Leading Lawyers, as well as being recognized by Best Lawyers for Personal Injuries

Kevin G. Burke have repeatedly obtained verdicts and settlements of plaintiff personal injury and professional malpractice actions in excess of $1 million, with many at more than $10 million. Mr. Burke is recognized as one of the Top 10 personal injury and consumer lawyers in Illinois and recognized by Illinois Leading Lawyers and in 2014 was named one of the top 50 female attorneys in Illinois by Super Lawyers.

312-580-2040 has for nearly 20 years represented victims of negligence and their families in a wide range of liability litigation. The firm's broad knowledge, and extensive trial and mediation experience, have been instrumental in verdicts and settlements for clients valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, including $75 million dollars in 2013 and more than $800 million in the past decade.

Attorney Contact: Kevin G. Burke, 312-580-2040.

Media Contact: Denise M. Henderson; 312-848-0067


  • American Heart Association – https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300297.pdf


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