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Sun-Times Details Koschman's Final Days

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 1, 2011 4:11PM

David Koschman (image captured via NBC Chicago video)
The Sun-Times continues its series on the death of David Koschman, who was killed by a punch thrown by Richard "R.J." Vanecko, one of Mayo Daley's nephews, in 2004. Today, they used medical records obtained by Koschman's mother, Nanci, that detail the slow decline in her son's condition from the moment his head hit the pavement.

Koschman was brought to the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with his skull fractured in three places, and both swelling and bleeding of the brain. The subdural hematoma -- bleeding of the brain -- was potentially life-threatening.

Amazingly, Koschman "moaning and thrashing," but otherwise unresponsive, when he arrived at the emergency room. A device was inserted into his skull to monitor the pressure on his brain three hours later, and Koschman was sedated to keep from flailing about while hooked to a ventilator, brain monitor and IV drip.

As the days went on, Koschman appeared able to hear people around him and respond to basic commands. But on April 29, 2004, a pair of CT scans showed the swelling of his brain increasing and a blood clot in his lungs. Koschman has two heart surgeries that day. two days later, surgeons performed a lobectomy on Koschman. His temperature spike to 111.8 degrees a day later. On May 6, 2004, Koschman developed renal failure and, after discussing his condition with surgeons, Nanci Koschman agreed to a do not resuscitate order and taken off life support; he died six minutes later.

All that from one punch, for which Vanecko was never charged with a crime.

The Sun-Times also brings an interesting side note to light. R.J. Vanecko's father, Dr. Robert M. Vanecko, is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Northwestern and former chief of staff at the hospital. Dr. Vanecko did not operate on Koschman nor was part of his care team while Koschman slowly died from his injuries.