On March 28, 2014, a Maine medical malpractice jury determined that a Maine physician was negligent in his treatment of a 63-year-old man who underwent heart bypass surgery on November 9, 2010 but died four days later after he was allegedly not provided a proper blood transfusion. The same Maine medical malpractice jury determined that the surgeon who performed the procedure and the hospital where the surgery took place were not negligent with regard to the man’s medical treatment. The nine-person jury voted 6-to-3 that the post-procedure physician was negligent.
The Maine medical malpractice lawsuit was filed by the man’s widow and alleged that the physician should have ordered blood tests to determine if the man needed a blood transfusion and, if so, how many units of blood were necessary, but instead mentally calculated the amount of blood needed for transfusion. As a result, the man did not receive enough blood to replace the blood he was losing through bleeding, resulting in multisystem organ failure and death.
The defendants’ experts testified during trial that the post-operative care provided to the man was appropriate and successfully stopped the man’s bleeding. They alleged that the man died from adult respiratory distress caused by pneumonia and sepsis that were not related to blood loss.
The Maine medical malpractice jury awarded the widow $400,000 in lost wages that her husband would have likely earned had he survived, $200,000 for her husband’s conscious pain and suffering, $1,150 for funeral expenses, and $800,000 for loss of consortium. The loss of consortium amount was reduced to the statutory maximum: $500,000. Therefore, the total judgment entered was $1,101,150. Pre-judgment interest in the amount of $80,000 may be added to the judgment amount.
After the verdict was rendered, the plaintiff’s attorney stated, “The money itself is not the issue. What was done to [the man] was wrong. You can’t know if you need the transfusion if you don’t test a sample.”
The defendant hospital issued a post-verdict statement in which it said, “Experts testified that the cause of death was adult respiratory distress likely caused by pneumonia and sepsis, not due to any alleged lack of blood. We want to improve the health of every patient who comes through our door. In this instance, although the outcome was not what we had hoped for, we’re confident the doctors and staff provided appropriate care.”
The attorney for the defendants indicated that the defendants were disappointed in the Maine medical malpractice jury’s verdict and that they were considering their options. The attorney stated, “We feel both doctors and the hospital staff provided good care for [the man]. We’re considering options,” and have not ruled out filing an appeal.
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Maine or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a local Maine medical malpractice attorney or a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with your medical negligence claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.