After a Maryland medical malpractice jury found his physician-client to have been negligent and that the physician’s negligence caused a newborn to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury for which the jury returned a multi-million dollar verdict, the defendant physician’s attorney issued the following written statement: “The jury’s verdict is significant because it makes the case for much needed reform of Maryland medical malpractice law. First, in a brain-damaged baby case, the issues are of such complexity that it cannot be expected that juries with limited education can possibly understand the issues, especially when their knowledge of the medicine comes from highly paid biased experts.” (emphasis added)
The defense attorney’s published statement is significant because it was written, which means it cannot be dismissed as an emotional statement made during the heat-of-the-battle of a contested trial, but rather it was an intentional campaign to attack the intelligence of jurors and the constitutional right to have an unbiased jury decide civil claims that is the hallmark of jurisprudence in the United States.
The defense attorney’s dismissiveness of the jury’s ability to fairly and competently understand and decide the case it was presented is even more outrageous when the background of the jurors is considered: the jury of five women and one man included two educators and a nurse, and two of the other jurors were also college-educated. The jury deliberated for six hours before it reached its verdict.
The medical malpractice defense attorney’s attack on the jury that “their knowledge of the medicine comes from highly paid biased experts” is pure chutzpah (a Yiddish word that can be best explained by the following example: after being found guilty of murdering his parents, the son begs the sentencing judge to have mercy on him because he is an orphan). Didn’t the defense attorney provide his own experts’ testimony for the jury’s consideration during the trial? Were the defense experts, who were paid by the defendant’s medical malpractice insurance company to testify during trial, any less “biased” than the plaintiffs’ experts? (We are not suggesting that either the defendant’s experts or the plaintiffs’ experts were “biased” in this case: even the best-qualified, highly-trained, and most-experienced medical experts can hold different opinions regarding the medical care provided under the circumstances of a particular case.)
The Maryland medical malpractice jury awarded $7 million to the family of the baby who was born with a condition called coarctation of the aorta, which cannot be detected at birth but quickly becomes worse. The parents had brought the baby to the defendant pediatrician’s office on two occasions shortly after birth, at which times the baby was noted to have an abnormally high heart rate (a symptom of the rare congenital heart condition, which is one of the more common heart defects) but the defendant negligently failed to refer the baby to a pediatric cardiologist (an echocardiogram would have found the heart defect). It was not alleged by the plaintiffs that the defendant doctor should have diagnosed the baby’s congenital heart defect himself.
As a result of the untimely diagnosed and treated condition, the baby’s heart stopped while being transported to the hospital and again during corrective surgery, which caused the baby to suffer permanent brain damage.
If you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
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