On August 8, 2017, a Maryland medical malpractice jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $2,459,304 for the wrongful death of their loved one that the plaintiffs alleged was due to medical negligence that occurred during an inpatient hospital stay. At the conclusion of the six-day trial, the Maryland medical malpractice jury decided to compensate the plaintiffs in the amount of $500,000 for the widow’s loss of consortium claim, $150,000 in compensation for the decedent’s estate for his pain and suffering, $1.8 million for loss of future earnings, and $9,304 for funeral expenses.
The 46-year-old decedent, who had no significant prior health conditions, went to the defendant hospital on January 1, 2013, complaining that he had been experiencing increased thirst, frequent urination, and weakness for a period of three days, according to the Maryland medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit. The hospital’s medical staff diagnosed the man as having diabetes that required fluids in order to reduce his increasing sodium levels. The Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged that the defendants failed to properly monitor the decedent’s fluid intake to make sure his sodium level did not drop too much and cause brain swelling.
The decedent began exhibiting signs of neurological decline that included erratic behavior. The plaintiffs alleged in their Maryland medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that the defendants’ medical negligence during the decedent’s five-day inpatient stay in the defendant hospital led to the decedent becoming brain dead. The decedent was transferred to another hospital where he died the same day that he arrived.
The plaintiffs named various defendants in their Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit, including the original hospital. However, the Maryland medical malpractice jury found that only one of the defendants, a physician who treated the decedent from 7:00 p.m. on January 2, 2013 to 7:00 a.m. on January 3, 2013 and who provided the orders and care instructions for the decedent for the other medical staff to follow with regard to his care, had breached the standard of care that led to the decedent’s death.
The plaintiffs filed their Maryland medical malpractice case on June 5, 2015 in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Maryland medical malpractice jury delivered its verdict after six hours of deliberations.
Some staunch opponents of medical malpractice lawsuits and the rights of medical malpractice victims to seek and obtain fair compensation for the harms they suffer due to medical negligence of others through no fault of their own complain that medical malpractice lawsuits name too many defendants, some of whom may seem at first blush to be too remote from the medical care that is alleged to have been below the standard of care.
This Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit is a prime example that it is often unknown at the time of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, or even during trial, who may ultimately be held legally liable for the injuries claimed. The Maryland medical malpractice jury cleared the defendant hospital of wrongdoing that led to the decedent’s death but found that a physician who was responsible to provide proper medical care and instructions for the decedent during a twelve hour shift breached the standard of care owed to the decedent and that such breach was the cause of his fatal injuries.
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Maryland, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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