On September 3, 2015, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and his wife in the amount of $28 million, after a three-week trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. The plaintiffs alleged that the husband’s undiagnosed duodenal ulcer subsequently perforated, leading to nearly three years of hospitalizations as well as more than a dozen surgeries, including multiple bowel resections. The plaintiff was left with short bowel syndrome that requires a pain pump and TPN for 16 hours a day, allegedly as a result of the defendants’ medical negligence – the man is unable to work due to his injuries, he cannot take care of himself, and he requires care provided by others.
The Baltimore medical malpractice jury’s verdict included more than $1 million in past medical expenses, in excess of $14 million for the plaintiff’s future medical and care expenses, $8 million for the plaintiff’s noneconomic damages (pain, suffering, disfigurement, etc.), and $5 million awarded to the plaintiff’s wife for her loss of consortium claim (the Baltimore medical malpractice jury’s award of $13 million to the plaintiffs for their noneconomic damages will be reduced to $695,000, pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases in effect at the time of the plaintiffs’ alleged medical malpractice injuries ).
The plaintiffs’ Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that in May 2011, the then 47-year-old plaintiff, who had a prior history of Crohn’s disease that had been asymptomatic since he underwent a surgical resection in 2000, experienced left upper quadrant pain that was described as a severe and burning pain that radiated into his chest. He sought treatment at a local hospital emergency room in Maryland and he was admitted to the hospital for four days during which time the consulting gastroenterologist allegedly did not consider upper GI issues, did not recommend an upper endoscopy, and treated the man for an infection and a flare-up of his Crohn’s disease, despite no objective evidence of a flare-up.
The man was re-admitted to the hospital eight days later, suffering symptoms that were very similar to those complaints he had when he sought medical treatment during the earlier hospital admission, and the consulting gastroenterologist during the second hospitalization allegedly failed to consider upper GI illness as the cause of the man’s severe symptoms. About thirty-three hours later, the man’s undiagnosed duodenal ulcer perforated. Surgery was performed but the surgeon allegedly missed the perforated ulcer, resected a portion of the man’s bowel, and created a new anastomosis in the lower right quadrant, in the location where the man had his prior surgery in 2000.
The untreated duodenal ulcer caused the new anastomosis to break down, requiring the numerous surgeries the plaintiff had to endure.
The defendants argued to the Baltimore medical malpractice jury that the surgeon’s alleged negligence was an intervening and superseding cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The defense also told the Baltimore medical malpractice jury that the man’s life expectancy was only five years, thereby attempting to substantially reduce the jury’s valuation of the costs of necessary future medical and related care.
Source Gary B. Stern, et al. v. Suzette M. Johnson-Futrell, D.O., et al., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No. 24C14001173 (filed March 14, 2014).
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of 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 medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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