On October 22, 2014, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury took just two-and-a-half hours after a week-long trial to award a 64-year-old man and his wife $4.2 million ($3,743,388.30 in economic damages and $1 million in noneconomic damages) for their injuries and damages arising out of the alleged negligent post-operative care of the man that led to paralysis. The jury’s award of $1 million for the plaintiffs’ noneconomic damages, which included $500,000 for the plaintiffs’ loss of consortium claim, will be reduced to $710,000, pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in effect at the time of the alleged medical negligence.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The defendant neurosurgeon had successfully performed spinal cord surgery on the man on November 9, 2012. The man was supposed to be discharged from the hospital three days later to a rehabilitation facility. However, the defendant neurosurgeon allegedly restarted the man on his high blood pressure medication the day following the surgery, despite the man’s blood pressure being normal at that time.
The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice complaint filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on May 29, 2013 alleged that the man fainted due to low blood pressure after he was administered anti-hypertension medication, which led to the man suffering a stroke that left him paralyzed below his mid-chest. The defendant neurosurgeon allegedly wrote in the man’s medical records that his stroke was caused by low blood pressure and he allegedly told the plaintiffs that the stroke may have been caused by the blood pressure medication the man had received. However, the defendant neurosurgeon reportedly distanced himself from his prior opinion regarding the cause of his patient’s stroke, and testified during trial that his patient’s stroke was caused by a blood clot.
Richard Dallatezza, Sr., et al. v. St. Agnes Health Care, Inc., et al., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No. 24C13003478.
No one expects to undergo successful spinal surgery but then to be injured as a result of negligent post-operative care. It is hard to imagine the emotional trauma suffered by the Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs who must have been anxious before the surgery, relieved shortly after the successful surgery, but then devastated by negligent post-operative care that was avoidable.
The plaintiffs must have felt extreme betrayal when the defendant neurosurgeon testified during trial to his changed causation opinion that was contrary to what he had told them shortly after the injury as to the cause of the man’s stroke, especially since the medical records allegedly contradicted the defendant neurosurgeon’s testimony at trial.
If you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend may have been injured due to medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney or a 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.
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