On January 12, 2018, a Maryland medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that alleged that a 64-year-old man died from heart complications following elective back surgery in October 2013 that was intended to address an injury that he had suffered at work.
After more than six hours of deliberations, the Maryland medical malpractice jury awarded $210,000 in economic damages, $250,000 in noneconomic damages to the man’s wife, $175,000 in noneconomic damages to the man’s three adult children, and $9,328.52 for funeral expenses.
The Underlying Facts
The man had to obtain pre-surgery medical clearance from his personal physician for his back surgery but his personal physician was out of the country at the time. A covering physician performed the pre-surgery medical examination, which included a routine EKG. Despite an abnormal EKG, the covering physician cleared the man for elective back surgery without first referring the man for a cardiology consultation.
The man had back surgery on October 9, 2013 and was discharged the same day. That night, the man was found unresponsive at home. Paramedics were called but they were unable to resuscitate the man.
The plaintiffs alleged in their Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that the covering physician was medically negligent in failing to refer the man for a cardiology consultation in light of his cardiac risks and the abnormal EKG. The plaintiffs alleged that a cardiologist would have performed a stress test that would have discovered the man’s blocked blood vessels, which were found during his autopsy. The Maryland medical malpractice jury held both the covering physician and the man’s primary care physician, as the employer of the covering physician, liable for the Maryland medical malpractice verdict.
The defense argued that the man had no symptoms of coronary artery disease and that a cardiology consultation was unnecessary (the man had been seen by a cardiologist for vascular disease). The defense argued that the defendants did not breach the applicable standard of care.
After the Maryland medical malpractice jury announced its verdict, the plaintiffs’ Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated, “They were a family that had come from Laos back in 1976 to escape the communist regime there. He was a hardworking guy who hurt his back on the job and the surgery was to hopefully resolve his pain but the surgery was elective. It’s obviously a very sad case and something that could have been avoided.”
While many people consider pre-surgical clearance examinations for elective surgery “routine,” it is important that both physicians and patients consider the results of such examinations seriously and that pre-surgical clearance is withheld until any medical concerns are properly addressed and resolved.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
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