On November 20, 2018, after a ten-day trial, a Maryland medical malpractice wrongful death jury found an emergency room physician and his employer liable for the death of a 23-year-old patient who had gone to the emergency room complaining of chest pain. Despite an abnormal EKG and other symptoms of a heart attack while in the emergency room, he was only given pain medication and was not referred to a cardiologist for several hours (the man was not seen by a cardiologist until the next morning).
The young man was transferred to another hospital the next morning in order to receive a stent. During the stent procedure, he went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff was able to restart his heart but the episode resulted in the man being brain dead. Three days later, on March 16, 2016, the man died.
The man’s parents filed a Maryland medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the emergency room physician, his employer, the cardiologist, and a hospitalist. The Maryland medical malpractice jury found the cardiologist and the hospitalist not liable but held the emergency room physician and his employer liable for medical negligence. The jury awarded the man’s parents $1 million in damages and the man’s estate $300,000. The amount the jury awarded for funeral expenses will be reduced to $10,000, pursuant to Maryland law.
The Maryland medical malpractice jury’s award of $1 million to the man’s parents for their noneconomic damages will be reduced to $962,500, which is the amount of the cap on noneconomic damages in Maryland medical malpractice cases that was in effect on the date of the incident.
The plaintiffs’ Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated after the verdict, “What stuck out, I think, was the fact that it took a long time to diagnose the heart attack when all of the information was present pretty quickly. Earlier intervention would have saved his life.”
Source M.L. Bastien et al. v. Dawn Dew, M.D., et al., Circuit Coufrt for Montgomery County, Case No. 435831-V.
Maryland’s Cap On Noneconomic Damages In Medical Malpractice Cases
Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, § 3-2A-09 (“Limitation of noneconomic damages”) states, in part:
“(i) … an award or verdict under this subtitle for noneconomic damages for a cause of action arising between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, inclusive, may not exceed $ 650,000. (ii) The limitation on noneconomic damages provided under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall increase by $ 15,000 on January 1 of each year beginning January 1, 2009. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between January 1 and December 31 of that year, inclusive … the limitation under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall apply in the aggregate to all claims for personal injury and wrongful death arising from the same medical injury, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants. (ii) If there is a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, whether or not there is a personal injury action arising from the same medical injury, the total amount awarded for noneconomic damages for all actions may not exceed 125% of the limitation established under paragraph (1) of this subsection, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants.”
If you or a family member may be the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Maryland malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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