Few things make medical malpractice juries seeth with anger more than evidence that a patient’s medical records were falsified sometime after the alleged incident of medical malpractice so that the records appear to support that the medical malpractice defendant was not negligent in the care he/she provided to the injured patient. Malpractice juries tend to believe that what is stated in a patient’s medical records (and what is not stated in the records) is the truth, as if the records were written by God himself. Therefore, any evidence that someone changed the records after the fact tends to bodes bad for the malpractice defendant(s).
Juries understand that patient medical records are created solely by the medical providers and that patients have no input in what is placed in their medical records. Therefore, when there is proof that the records were surreptitiously altered by the medical malpractice defendant to harm the patient’s claim and to improperly assist in the defense of the claim, malpractice juries will often punish the dishonest defendant as evidenced in the amount of their verdict.
A Recent Baltimore Medical Malpractice Case
In a recent medical malpractice lawsuit that was tried before a Baltimore City medical malpractice jury, it was shown at trial that the defendant surgeon had changed the patient’s medical records to state that the plaintiff had complained of right-sided pelvic pain after the patient had filed her Baltimore medical malpractice lawsuit that alleged that the surgeon had incorrectly removed her right ovary instead of her left ovary that had mass on it. The surgeon never advised the woman that the right ovary had been removed and the left ovary remained in place even during the woman’s one-month follow-up appointment with the surgeon. She only learned of her situation when she went to a hospital emergency room where she was advised of the discrepancy.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney repeatedly requested the plaintiff’s medical records from the defendant surgeon without success. The plaintiff’s attorney had also subpoenaed the medical records from another of the plaintiff’s medical providers that contained copies of records from the defendant surgeon. When the defendant surgeon finally provided a copy of the plaintiff’s medical records to the plaintiff’s attorney, it was obvious that the defendant surgeon had added a notation to the records after the surgery that the plaintiff had complained of pain on her right side before the surgery (in an apparent effort to justify the surgery on the plaintiff’s right side).
On January 14, 2013, after a four-day trial and only one hour of deliberation, the Baltimore medical malpractice jury awarded $1.42 million, all in noneconomic damages, which will be reduced to $680,000 under Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Source Neim, et al. v. Muoneke, M.D., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No. 24C11006058.
If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in the United States where it appears that your medical records may have been falsified (fraudulent medical records), you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate you claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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