Disabled Hebron man wins $12 million lawsuit
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 March 25, 2013 5:14PM
James Kosinski. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: March 25, 2013 10:41PM
A 43-year-old disabled Hebron man, who suffered third degree burns and permanent brain damage in 2009, has received a $12 million settlement from a Crown Point home health care agency.
Merrillville attorney Timothy S. Schafer said his client, James Kosinski, settled the case a week before trial in Porter Superior Court.
Schafer blamed Kosinski’s burns and brain damage on Spectrum Community Services of Indiana, LLC, which he said failed to follow safety rules and hired an employee who wasn’t qualified or competent.
Kosinski was receiving 24-hour supervision and assistance because of his severe disabilities that include autism, cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder.
On Jan. 19, 2009, Schafer said Kosinski’s bathtub was filled with scalding hot water by a new employee who had no medical training. “Once the tub was filled, the Spectrum employee placed James in the tub... James, who was unable to speak or scream out for help, simply struggled to get out,” Schafer said in a statement. Schafer said the employee believed Kosinski was having a seizure so he held him down in the water.
Schafer said Kosinski’s skin began to blister and peel away as he was removed from the tub. He was taken by helicopter to the University of Chicago Hospital burn unit, suffering from second and third degree burns on his feet, legs, buttocks and back. He suffered side effects from the burns including respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and sepsis. His seizures increased and he needed a feeding tube and a ventilator.
Schafer said the award will be placed into a restrictive trust for Kosinski, who now lives in a nursing home. Schafer said the family hopes to be able to bring Kosinski back home for care and treatment.
Schafer said the Spectrum worker was fired. The agency couldn’t be reached for comment.