In June of 2001, Carl Longnecker, a suburban Chicago man, was rushed to Loyola Hospital in the middle of the night after being told that a suitable heart had been found for the transplant he needed.
Longnecker was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room. He was anesthetized, and surgeons opened his chest. They removed his heart, and discarded it.
Only then did they take a look at the donor heart- and discovered that it was badly diseased as a result of hypertension and from years of drug use. Since Longnecker's own heart was gone, the doctors had no choice but to implant the diseased heart in its place. Longnecker never woke up.
In December, a Cook County jury awarded a $2.7 million judgment against Loyola Hospital to Longnecker's family. Yesterday, Judge Irwin Solganick reversed the verdict and ruled for the hospital.
"The last chapter in this case has not been written," says Thomas Leahy, attorney for the Longnecker family.
Let's hope not.