On December 3, 2016, a Montgomery County, Maryland medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a man and his wife for the man’s loss of sight in his left eye following surgery to address a detached retina. The plaintiffs alleged in their Maryland medical malpractice complaint that the man’s loss of sight in his left eye was due to the failure of the eye surgeon to monitor his eye pressure both before and after the eye surgery.
The five-day Maryland medical malpractice jury trial concluded with the jury deliberating for approximately nine hours before awarding the husband and wife $500,000 each for their noneconomic damages, which was reduced to a total of $740,000 pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.
The Maryland medical malpractice defendant was the eye surgeon’s employer, a retina group, which filed an appeal in mid-January 2017.
The Underlying Facts
The man had gone to the defendant retina group in December 2014 and was diagnosed with a detached retina in his left eye. At the time of his first appointment with the ophthalmologist, the man had pre-existing conditions that made him susceptible to increased eye pressure yet the defendant eye doctor did not prescribe medication to treat ocular pressure at that time.
The defendant’s eye surgeon performed surgery to repair the retinal detachment on December 4, 2014. The plaintiffs’ Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that during the surgery the eye surgeon caused the man’s eye pressure in his left eye to increase over the next 24 hours that resulted in the permanent and total loss of sight in his left eye. The plaintiffs further alleged that the eye surgeon failed to properly monitor the man’s eye pressure after the surgery; his eye pressure was not measured until the day after surgery.
The man’s family testified during the Maryland medical malpractice trial that the loss of sight in his left eye has resulted in the man being unable to drive at night or engage in his hobbies. The loss of sight in his left eye has resulted in the man falling down steps. In short, the man’s life has been drastically changed as a result of the loss of sight in one eye.
The Maryland medical malpractice jury determined that employees of the defendant retina group had breached the standard of care. The defendant retina group had argued before trial and after trial that the plaintiffs’ required Certificate of Merit from a qualified medical expert was defective because it failed to specifically identify the defendant’s employees who were alleged to have breached the standard of care. The trial judge denied the defendant’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict regarding the allegedly defective Certificate of Merit, finding that the Certificate of Merit had complied with the statutory requirements regarding the contents of certificates of merit by naming the employer even though its specific employees who allegedly breached the standard of care, other than the eye surgeon who had performed the surgery, were not identified in the Certificate of Merit.
Source Crosetto v. Sanders, Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Case No. 409869-V.
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