On November 22, 2013, a federal medical malpractice jury in Maryland rendered it verdict in favor of a Maryland neurosurgeon whom the plaintiff alleged had negligently performed spinal surgery on her. The federal medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on November 16, 2011 by the West Virginia plaintiff in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, based on the diversity of citizenship between the parties (medical malpractice cases may be filed in federal District Courts if the parties reside in different states and the amount in controversy (the amount claimed as damages) exceeds $75,000.00; federal medical malpractice cases must be filed in the federal courts if they are covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) or a federal question is at issue).
The medical malpractice jury took only one hour after a five-day trial to reject the plaintiff’s claim for compensatory damages in the amount of $750,000.00 arising out of her spinal surgery on October 27, 2007, during which it was alleged that the neurosurgeon operated on the wrong level of her spine. The Maryland federal medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the neurosurgeon breached the applicable medical standard of care by failing to perform surgery at the proper level and that he subsequently lied to the plaintiff or negligently failed to recognize his medical mistake and deliberately or negligently failed to correct the plaintiff’s medical chart.
The plaintiff alleged that pre-operative medical testing indicated that the source of the plaintiff’s spine issue was at a level adjacent to the level at which the neurosurgeon operated. After the surgery, the plaintiff continued to have back problems which led to the neurosurgeon performing a second surgery, also at the wrong level, four days later, according to the medical malpractice lawsuit. It was not until two months later that the plaintiff discovered the medical error when she went to another physician. As a result of the neurosurgeon’s alleged medical negligence, the plaintiff claimed that she suffered severe pain, discomfort, emotional distress, and temporary and permanent bodily injury.
The plaintiff had the option of filing her Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit in state court either in the Maryland county where the neurosurgeon worked or in the county where the alleged medical negligence took place (which was the same Western Maryland county), or in the federal District Court in Baltimore because of the diversity of citizenship among the parties. The federal court in Baltimore was chosen by the plaintiff’s lawyer because he considered Western Maryland jurors to be more pro-physician in medical malpractice cases and he considered that the jury pool for federal medical malpractice cases pending in the U.S. District Court (located in Baltimore) would be selected from a more favorable group of potential jurors.
As most experienced medical malpractice lawyers will agree, the most important jury consideration is the jurors selected to decide the medical malpractice case — generalities regarding the characteristics of the jury pool are often considered (sometimes correctly) but the individual experiences, knowledge, education, biases, prejudices, etc., of each juror cannot be fully discovered and understood during the jury selection process — there are just too many variables, including the evidence and testimony actually produced during trial and the group dynamics involving the jurors deciding a medical malpractice case.
If you or a family member were injured or suffered other harm as a result of medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Maryland malpractice attorney or a malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with Maryland medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with your malpractice claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.