On June 25, 2019, after a one-week trial and seven hours of deliberations, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the total amount of $1.75 million ($500,000 in economic damages, $500,000 in noneconomic damages to the surviving wife, $250,000 in noneconomic damages to the decedent’s estate, and $250,000 in noneconomic damages to each of the decedent’s two daughters) for the wrongful death of a 65-year-old Baltimore man who died as a result of an aortic dissection that the plaintiffs claimed should have been diagnosed and treated 24 hours earlier.
The man had gone to the emergency room of a local Baltimore hospital on August 18, 2014, complaining of chest pain while working out. He was diagnosed with a muscle strain and then discharged from the emergency room. The Baltimore medical malpractice plaintiffs argued that the man should have had a chest CT scan during his visit to the emergency room, in light of his long history of cardiac issues, which would have revealed that an aortic dissection was developing. The plaintiffs’ expert testified during the Maryland medical malpractice trial that a CT scan during the initial emergency room visit would have led to immediate surgery that would have resulted in an additional life expectancy of five to ten years.
The man returned to the emergency room 27 hours later, at which time his aortic dissection was diagnosed and was treated by emergency surgery. The man died several days later.
The defense argued that the man was provided appropriate medical care during his initial emergency room visit and that the diagnosis of muscle strain was proper. The defense further argued that the aortic dissection occurred after the man’s release from the hospital. The defense attorney indicated that his clients are exploring their post-verdict options, stating, “What happened in this case was not foreseeable based on the patient’s complaints.”
The plaintiffs’ Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated after the verdict that his clients were gratified by the jury’s verdict and that “They have basically lived a nightmare for the last five years.” The Maryland medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was filed in April 2017.
The Maryland medical malpractice case was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County and was captioned Maria Rochfort et al. v. Ellen Lemkin et al., Case No.: 03-C-17-003873.
What Is An Aortic Dissection?
An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart (aorta). As the tear extends along the wall of the aorta, blood can flow in between the layers of the blood vessel wall (dissection). This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow (ischemia) to organs. Aortic dissection occurs in about 2 out of every 10,000 people and can affect anyone, but is most often seen in men ages 40 to 70.
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