The mother of a south suburban man who was paralyzed after an attack outside of a Mokena bar three years ago is suing the hospitals where he was treated and two doctors for negligence.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Janet Bartels, on behalf of her disabled son, Eric, says Silver Cross Hospital and Provena St. Joseph Medical Center delayed diagnosis and treatment when they didn’t properly communicate with first medical responders and each other after the brutal attack.
On July 25, 2009, Eric Bartels, now 29, was punched twice outside of a bar while waiting for a ride, leaving him blind and paralyzed. A Will County prosecutor said multiple witnesses saw Joe Messina, 23, of New Lenox throw the punches and that Bartels' DNA was found on Messina's shirt and pants, according to a Tribune article published in June.
The article stated Bartels suffered such massive brain injuries and now sleeps and eats in his mother’s Tinley Park dining room.
Messina is being tried on three counts of aggravated battery, charged with throwing the punches while celebrating his 21st birthday at the bar.
The suit alleges both hospitals, which are Level II trauma centers, didn’t have a neurosurgeon on call 24 hours a day who could be in the operating room within 60 minutes, as required by law. It also says Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox didn’t communicate with first responders to properly assess Eric Bartels’ condition and that Provena St. Joseph in Joliet didn’t effectively communicate with the staff at Silver Cross.
The doctors involved also are accused in the lawsuit of failing to recognized Eric Bartels’ brain injuries.
Representatives for the hospitals and Eric Bartels could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. The suit seeks $200,000 in damages.
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