Bernie Mac’s widow drops wrongful-death lawsuit against doctor

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Attorneys for the widow of Emmy-nominated comedian and Chicago native Bernie Mac have dropped a wrongful-death lawsuit against a South Side dermatologist who treated Mac weeks before his death in 2008.

It was unclear precisely why the Cook County suit was dropped earlier this month against Dr. Rene M. Earles; an attorney for the Mac estate told the Chicago Sun-Times this week he could not comment.

“We’ll be looking at re-filing,” said the lawyer, Cannon Lambert, noting that he has up to a year to do so.

Mike Prangle, an attorney for Mac’s dermatologist, said he’s delighted at the turn of events in a case that’s been dragging on since 2010.

“I’m very happy for Dr. Earles that we got the case to this point,” Prangle said. “It’s possible it could come back, but we continue to believe that Dr. Earles did everything reasonably expected of him in treating [Mac].”

Mac died on Aug. 9, 2008, at the age of 50, because of complications from pneumonia. But attorneys for Mac’s widow, Rhonda McCullough, later filed suit, alleging Earles’ actions weeks earlier contributed to Mac’s declining condition and subsequent death.

On July 17, 2008, another doctor diagnosed Mac with pneumonia. That same day, Mac had an appointment at Earles’ South Loop clinic to be treated for neck, head and face lesions. McCullough’s attorneys alleged that after Mac arrived at the clinic, Earles dragged out the appointment for hours, delaying vital emergency care at a hospital.

Prangle says, among other things, that Earles had no idea at the time that another doctor had diagnosed Mac with pneumonia.

“Had Dr. Earles known Bernie had been diagnosed with pneumonia, he would have immediately sent him to the hospital,” Prangle said.

“Of course I’m relieved,” Earles told the Chicago Sun-Times this week. “The truth wins.”

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