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After eight days of testimony and fifteen hours of deliberations, an Atlanta jury this week awarded $45.8 million to a woman who suffered catastrophic and irreversible brain damage just days after giving birth.  Three days after her child’s birth, the woman suffered a heart attack while undergoing x-rays.  Although she was able to be resuscitated, she was without oxygen for approximately ten minutes and suffered an anoxic brain injury that has rendered her unable to care for herself in any meaningful way.

In the medical malpractice lawsuit, the woman’s lawyers claimed that the heart attack was caused by the healthcare providers’ failure to properly monitor her blood pressure in light of preeclampsia, combined with pulmonary edema, also knowns as fluid in the lungs.  The defense took the position at trial that the woman’s decline was more likely explained by pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that breaks off from one area of the body and travels to the lung – than pulmonary edema, and that what happened to the woman could not have been foreseen by the doctors who were charged with caring for her.  The Plaintiffs countered that the doctors failed to properly address the woman’s erratic blood pressure and allowed a dangerous buildup of fluid in her lungs that caused her heart to stop beating.

The jury’s award included $9.8 million in economic damages for the woman’s future medical care needs and $18 million each to the woman and her husband for their pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

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A jury in a medical malpractice case tried in federal court has awarded $14.5 million to a young boy who suffered catastrophic injuries, including cerebral palsy, during birth.  The lawsuit alleged that the healthcare providers involved negligently guided the mother through labor, prescribing a drug – Pitocin – that sped up the delivery process to a rate at which the child did not have sufficient time to recover and oxygenate between contractions.  The Plaintiffs’ position was that when the fetal heart monitor began to demonstrate that the child was being deprived of oxygen the administration of Pitocin should have been terminated.  The evidence also demonstrated that the hospital’s written rules prohibited use of Pitocin in cases where the mother is dilating, making progress in the labor process and experiencing strong contractions.

As a result of his injuries, the child is unable to walk or talk and cannot sit up without assistance.  He likely will require significant, round-the-clock care for the remainder of his life.  The award – issued after two weeks of trial and four hours of deliberation – included $3 million for past a future pain, suffering and future lost wages.  The remainder of the award was to cover future medical expenses for his lifetime of needed care.

If you or a loved one may have been the victim of a medical mistake, call our experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at 410-385-2225.

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After a five-day trial last week, a jury in Montgomery County, Maryland awarded $1 million a man who permanently lost vision in one eye following surgery.  The man went to a local eye clinic in December of 2014 with pre-existing conditions that left him at a higher risk of developing increased ocular pressure.  However, he was not prescribed any eye pressure medication.  The clinic physician diagnosed him with a detached retina and scheduled him for surgery to repair it.

The man’s medical malpractice lawyers contended that the surgery caused the pressure in the left eye to increase over the next day, leading to permanent vision loss.  He contended that he is not able to do all of the activities that he was accustomed to doing and that his enjoyment of life’s daily pursuits has been diminished.  The award included $500,000 for pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.  After the Maryland economic damages cap in medical malpractice cases is applied, the award will be reduced to $740,000.

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Last year, an Alabama jury awarded $10 million to the family of a young boy who suffered devastating injuries after his bacterial meningitis went undetected for too long.  Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.  When caused by bacteria, the condition is referred to as bacterial meningitis.

In this case, the family of the then-three-month-old was brought to the hospital on two consecutive days with a variety of symptoms and, while he was admitted, no tests to rule out bacterial infection were performed and no antibiotics were administered.  Despite his ongoing symptoms of a bacterial infection, the hospital discharged him to the care of his parents at home.  The next morning, the family took the boy to his pediatrician who performed a lumbar puncture and confirmed that he was suffering from bacterial meningitis.  He was flown by helicopter to another hospital where he was treated and underwent several surgeries.  Despite those efforts, he suffered permanent brain injuries, hearing loss and now suffers from seizures.

In newborns, the classic signs of meningitis such as fever, headache and neck stiffness may be difficult to notice.  Infants suffering from the condition may be slow or inactive, irritable, feeding poorly or vomiting.  Because the condition can be so difficult to detect in newborns, the defendants in these types of cases usually argue, among other things, that it was not below the standard of acceptable medical care to not diagnose the condition as quickly as one might expect it to be diagnosed in an adult.

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A New Hampshire jury this month awarded $5 million to a woman after several procedures by her ophthalmologist left her legally blind.  The woman had been a patient of this physician for a period of eight years.  She was being treated for age-related macular degeneration, a condition that usually responds well to treatment, though it can reduce the quality of a person’s vision.

Following steroid injections, the patient lost much of her vision in her left eye.  Then, after she lost vision in her right eye, the right eye had to be surgically removed because it had shrunken significantly as the result of the treatments that had failed.  A glass eye was inserted in its place.  The lawsuit alleged that the physician injected the right eye with a steroid that was too aggressive and rapidly led to glaucoma, pain and ultimately blindness and the removal of the eye.  Because this patient also had a history of glaucoma, the use of a steroid for early, age-related macular degeneration was alleged to be in violation of acceptable medical care.  The complaint also alleged that this particular physician did not have the appropriate training to be performing these procedures.

The jury’s verdict included an award of nearly $4.7 million to the woman for her pain, suffering, mental anguish and future medical needs, and $350,000 to her husband for loss of companionship.

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Late last month, a Georgia jury awarded $30.5 million to the family of a child who suffered a catastrophic brain injury while being delivered.  The child’s mother presented to her OB-GYN for a regularly-scheduled visit at 35 weeks, where a non-stress test was performed and found to be non-reactive.  A few days after that scheduled visit, the mother returned for an unscheduled visit with a chief complaint of reduced or absent fetal movement.  A second non-stress test was again non-reactive and an ultrasound demonstrated possibility of reversal end diastolic blood flow, a severe condition that results from an increase in resistance to blood flow within the placenta.

The family’s attorneys contended that under the standard of acceptable medical care, this finding required an immediate delivery of the baby.  Instead, the physician who was treating the mother sent her to the hospital for continued monitoring and for a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.  Due to a miscommunication, however, the consult with the specialist did not occur for an additional three hours.  The baby was ultimately delivered by emergency cesarean section due to terminal bradycardia (significantly decreased heart rate).  She suffered a severe hypoxic ischemic brain jury which resulted in development of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, developmental delays and a seizure disorder.  The attorneys for the family contended that there were several opportunities to deliver the distressed baby but those opportunities were missed by the treating physicians.

At Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White, our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience successfully litigating birth injury cases.  If you or a loved one suffered this, or any other type of medical mistake, call us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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Last year, a judge in an Ohio medical malpractice case awarded $24.9 million to a child born with cerebral palsy and to his parents.  According to the lawsuit, the boy, born in 2010, suffered a deprivation of oxygen during his birth.  The family alleged that the signs and symptoms of fetal distress were not recognized or acted upon in a timely fashion, despite the use of a fetal heart monitor.  The lack of oxygen resulted in a severe and irreversible brain injury that caused developmental delays and inability to function as a normal child.

The evidence demonstrated that the boy will require assistance with personal care for bathing, dressing, positioning, hair and mouth care throughout his life and that it is likely that he will require round-the-clock care due to his communication and functional mobility impairments.  The award – made by a judge because it was a bench trial – included $24.9 million for future care, $2.9 million for lost earning capacity, and $500,000 to each of the boy’s parents for their emotional pain and suffering.

The Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White have decades of successful experience litigating birth injury cases.  If you or a loved one have suffered this, or any other type of injury that may have been caused by a medical mistake, calls us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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A Pennsylvania jury this month awarded $12.7 million to a woman who suffered brain damage after her physicians prematurely removed her breathing tube at the conclusion of a routine tonsillectomy.  At the time of the procedure, the woman was a 33 year-old special education teacher.  The crux of the allegation was that the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist did not properly evaluate whether the anesthesia had worn off enough for her breathing tube to safely be removed.  After the breathing tube was removed, it was alleged that the health care providers did not monitor the woman’s oxygen levels for sixteen minutes and when they finally did, it showed an oxygen lever of 81 percent, which her lawyers described as “dangerously low.”  She was re-intubated but was unresponsive and exhibiting seizure-like involuntary limb movements.

The defendants’ position was that the woman did not suffer an anoxic brain injury but instead had an abnormal reaction to the anesthesia, which could not have been foreseen.  They also argued that the woman’s symptoms were the result of a psychological conversion disorder, in support of which they pointed to her history of depression.

The jury found the anesthesiologist to be 70% responsible and the nurse to be 30% responsible.  The jury assigned no liability to the surgeon who performed the tonsillectomy.  While her short-term cognitive issues have mostly resolved, the woman continues to suffer from significant physical impairments including a foot drag and the inability to lift her right leg.  The jury’s award included $5.85 million for past and future lost wages and past and future pain and suffering.  The remainder of the verdict was for her medical care for the rest of her life expectancy.

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After a five week trial, a Connecticut woman has been awarded $25 million to a woman whose leg was caused to be amputated due to negligent treatment of a blood clot.  In November of 2009, the young and athletic woman sought treatment at a local hospital for an asthma attack.  While at the hospital, the physicians voiced concern regarding the woman’s additional complaints of numbness and pain in her left leg.  Diagnostic testing revealed a blood clot however because the hospital that the woman had presented to was a small, community hospital, there was no vascular surgeon on duty.

When the on-call vascular surgeon was consulted by phone, he ordered another test and then ultimately ordered that she be sent home with instructions to follow up with him in person in three days.  After she was released, her condition worsened and she ultimately ended up requiring the amputation of a portion of her leg.

In addition to suing the vascular surgeon who was consulted, the woman also named the hospital emergency room doctors as defendants.  Those doctors, who are considered generalists, pointed the finger at the vascular surgeon claiming he was the one with the expertise regarding how to treat this condition.  The jury found that the vascular surgeon was sixty percent responsible and that the emergency room physicians and hospital were forty percent responsible.

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Earlier this month, a Baltimore County, Maryland jury awarded $4 million as the result of the alleged wrongful death of a 28 year-old man whose heart disease went undiagnosed.  The man was referred by his primary care physician to a cardiologist due to constant chest pain that had been ongoing for more than a year.  The cardiologist in March of 2012 diagnosed him with “atypical chest pain” and sent him on his way without conducting any further studies, according to the lawsuit.

The family alleged that the standard of acceptable medical care required that when the man presented with chest pain, a standard stress test be administered to evaluate for cardiovascular disease.  He returned in April for an echocardiogram and at that time still was experiencing ongoing chest pain.  The man died of a heart attack in July.  A subsequent autopsy concluded that the cause of death was cardiovascular disease.

The jury’s award included $3.75 million for non-economic damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress suffered as the result of the loss of a loved one.  That amount will be reduced to $887,500 under Maryland’s cap on such damages.  The award also included $162,00 for lost household services to the man’s seven year-old child and $9,000 for the cost of his funeral.  If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, call our experienced medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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