Rebecca E. Neubauer
Rebecca E. Neubauer
Stephan D. Blandin
Stephan D. Blandin

The mother of a toddler who died of respiratory failure at a Palos Heights hospital have settled their lawsuit for $4.25 million.

The parties reached the agreement in late November, but it still awaits formal approval by a Law Division judge.

On Oct. 16, 2011, 23-month-old Ryan Kutchinski Jr. was brought to the Palos Community Hospital emergency room just before midnight experiencing fever, runny nose and cough.

Emergency Room physician Tam V. Thai treated Ryan for croup — an infection of the upper airway — and discharged him once his breathing improved.

The next morning, Ryan again faced difficulty breathing and was admitted to an urgent care center where he was treated and transported back to Palos Community Hospital.

On Oct. 18, 2011, at 4:33 a.m., Ryan stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest, the complaint stated.

Dr. Kaushik J. Pandya, an on-call pediatrician monitoring Ryan, was informed about his condition, but was sleeping at home.

Attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin LLC who represented Ryan’s parents said the hospital should have escalated the situation.

The firm’s press release said Pandya removed orders for continuous use of a blood-oxygen monitor, instead opting to have therapists check in every few hours until he could visit during rounds.

“There was no opportunity for Ryan to be seen later that day,” partner Stephan D. Blandin said in the firm’s press release. “Ryan’s atypical presentation of croup required continuous cardiac and pulse oximetry monitoring upon admission to the hospital at the very least. Instead, he went unmonitored for extended periods of time, leading to a code blue situation and failed intubation at PCH which like his diagnosis, was handled improperly.”

The on-call nurses unsuccessfully tried to intubate Ryan multiple times, according to court records.

The doctors stopped CPR at 5:03 a.m., determining Ryan was alive but brain dead.

He was transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center Hope Children’s Hospital on Oct. 19, 2011, and pronounced dead the next day.

Ryan’s mother, Allison Kutchinski, sued the Palos Heights hospital, Pandya, Thai and Dr. Michael J. Bautista alleging her son’s condition required admission to a dedicated pediatric hospital with doctors who had experience with pediatric respiratory distress.

She contended the hospital and its staff failed to properly assess and treat her son’s condition.

Thai and Bautista were dismissed from the suit before the other parties reached the settlement, according to court records.

Kutchinski was also represented by Rebecca E. Neubauer, Michael E. Holden and Michael R. Grieco of Romanucci & Blandin LLC.

“PCH [Palos Community Hospital] failed to monitor Ryan and assigned him an inexperienced code team working the graveyard shift who struggled with performing proper monitoring and life-saving measures, all of which contributed to Ryan’s oxygen deprivation and untimely death.” Neubauer said in the firm’s press release.

Daniel B. Mills with Cunningham, Meyer & Vedrine P.C. represented Palos Community Hospital. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mark M. Burden with Donohue, Brown, Mathewson & Smyth LLC represented Pandya. He declined to comment on the case.

The case is Allison Kutchinski v. Kaushik J. Pandya, M.D., et al., 15 L 2337.