On September 30, 2016, a Baltimore County medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of nearly $4 million against the defendant cardiologist for the wrongful death of a man as a result of the cardiologist’s negligence that the jury determined caused the man’s death.
It took the Baltimore medical malpractice jury less than three hours of deliberations to award the man’s wife, his now seven-year-old son, and the man’s father a combined total of $3.75 million for their noneconomic losses, which will be reduced to $887,500 pursuant to the amount of the Maryland cap on noneconomic damages in Maryland medical malpractice cases that was in effect when the man died in July 2012.
The Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged in their wrongful death lawsuit that the 28-year-old man died as a result of cardiac arrest caused by his heart disease that the defendant cardiologist negligently failed to detect and diagnose. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant cardiologist negligently failed to order and conduct a cardiac stress test when the man complained that he had chronic chest pain for more than one year (the man’s primary care physician had referred him to the defendant cardiologist in March 2012 in light of the man’s chest pain complaints).
The Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged that the defendant cardiologist diagnosed the man with atypical chest pain without conducting further medical testing, and that it was a breach of the standard of care to not perform a stress test in March 2012.
The man returned to the defendant cardiologist for an echocardiogram in April 2012, and then returned again to the defendant cardiologist in May 2012, still complaining of chronic chest pain. The 28-year-old husband/father/son had a heart attack while at home on July 29, 2012, and he was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.
Because of the man’s young age when he died from a heart attack, an autopsy was performed that determined that the man had died as a result of cardiovascular disease. The defense argued that the man did not die from cardiovascular disease but the defense could not come up with an explanation for the cause of death.
The fact that the Maryland medical malpractice jury had determined that the plaintiffs had suffered non-economic harm that the jury valued at $3.75 million, but the man’s seven-year-old son, his wife, and his father will share only $887,500 of the damages they were awarded, due to Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, is a stark reminder that the Maryland cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases unfairly and disproportionately affects the most seriously harmed medical malpractice victims in Maryland.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or death as a result of medical malpractice in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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