On February 18, 2020, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury took only 47 minutes after a five-day trial to award the son of a patient who died a day after spinal surgery on his neck, $51,562 for medical expenses, $4,209 for funeral expenses, and $1.3 million in noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. The noneconomic damages award will be reduced to $785,000, pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases that was in effect at the time of the patient’s death.
The Baltimore medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that in January 2017, the defendant neurosurgeon recommended a discectomy for the plaintiff’s father based on an MRI of the cervical spine that showed bulging discs. The defendant neurosurgeon performed the surgical procedure on the plaintiff’s father on March 7, 2017.
The Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that during the surgery, while the defendant neurosurgeon was removing bone segments from the left side of the patient’s cervical spine, he negligently severed the father’s left vertebral artery, which caused the father to bleed profusely. The defendant neurosurgeon was able to stop the bleeding and to complete the spinal surgery, but the father failed to awake from anesthesia. An MRI of the father’s brain that was performed four hours after the surgery showed that the father had suffered strokes. The day after the surgery, the plaintiff’s father died. An autopsy revealed that the father’s left vertebral artery had been lacerated during the surgery and that was the cause of his death.
The plaintiff alleged in his Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that the defendant neurosurgeon negligently used improper surgical technique during the surgical procedure and that he had approached the patient’s spine at an inappropriate angle.
The plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated after the jury rendered its verdict, “The family feels like they finally got justice and have been pretty emotional through this process.”
Maryland’s Cap On Noneconomic Damages In Medical Malpractice Cases
MD Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-2A-09 (“Noneconomic damages, medical expenses, and future loss of earnings”) provides, in part: (b)(1)(i) Except as provided in paragraph (2)(ii) of this subsection, an award or verdict under this subtitle for noneconomic damages for a cause of action arising between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, inclusive, may not exceed $650,000. (ii) The limitation on noneconomic damages provided under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall increase by $15,000 on January 1 of each year beginning January 1, 2009. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between January 1 and December 31 of that year, inclusive.
(2)(i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the limitation under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall apply in the aggregate to all claims for personal injury and wrongful death arising from the same medical injury, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants. (ii) If there is a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, whether or not there is a personal injury action arising from the same medical injury, the total amount awarded for noneconomic damages for all actions may not exceed 125% of the limitation established under paragraph (1) of this subsection, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants.
If you or a family member suffered serious injury (or worse) due to medical malpractice in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you should promptly find a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer (Maryland medical malpractice lawyer) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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