Hospitals Sued for Treatment of Fight Coma Victim
The case, brought by the mother of the Joliet victim, alleges Silver Cross Hospital and Provena St. Joseph Medical Center were negligent in their treatment of Eric Bartels.
Eric Bartels, 29, suffered a massive head trauma in the July 2009 incident, delivered in a single blow. Joseph Messina, 24, of New Lenox was arrested and charged with aggravated battery; he is to go on trial Nov. 24.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook Count Circuit Court by Janet Bartels, charges that the two hospitals -- Silver Cross is in New Lenox and St. Joe's in Joliet -- didn't properly communicate with the EMTs or each other, thereby delaying diagnosis and treatment, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
It's also alleged in the suit that the two hospitals, which are Level II trauma centers, violated the law by not having a neurosurgeon on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies within 60 minutes, the Tribune story said.
The fight took place at 191 South, a Mokena bar where Messina was celebrating his 21st birthday.
According to one witness, after Bartels fell, Messina straddled him, punched his face again, and then "raised his arms above his head in victory."
When police arrived, they found Messina hiding between the seats of a van, witnesses said.
But defense attorney David Carlson insists Messina didn't throw the punch that broke Bartels' skull and damaged his brain. In fact, Carlson said, Messina didn't punch anyone at all. The attorney said it was actually one of Messina's close friends who struck Bartels.
Ann Piasecki, editor of New Lenox Patch, contributed to this story.