Maryland’s average malpractice award payment is nearly $320,000, according to a study by the American College of Emergency Physicians. This is in line with the average settlement or verdict nationally of $285,000.
The following is a sampling of medical malpractice verdicts and settlements from Maryland:
- 2020, Baltimore City: $1,355,722 Verdict. A 68-year-old man underwent a discectomy on his cervical spine. He bled profusely as the surgeon removed bones from his spine’s left side. The surgeon stopped the bleeding and continued the surgery. The man suffered multiple strokes and never woke up from anesthesia. He died the following day. An autopsy found that the man’s left vertebral artery was lacerated during surgery, which caused excessive bleeding. His estate alleged that the surgeon negligently approached the man’s spine from an angle that resulted in a severed artery that caused his strokes and death. Their neurosurgery experts opined that the surgeon also performed the surgery without knowing the artery’s exact location. The Baltimore City jury ruled in favor of the estate and determined that the damage amounted to $1,355,722. However, the non-economic damages award was capped at $785,000. The net recovery amounted to $840,722.
- 2020, Baltimore City: $5,872,150 Verdict. A 75-year-old retiree underwent heart valve replacement surgery at a University of Maryland Medical System hospital. Three days later, while still hospitalized, she went into cardiac arrest and sustained a traumatic brain injury. She died less than a week later. Her estate alleged that the surgeon and UMMS delayed the treatment of cardiac tamponade, a known complication of the procedure. They claimed that the staff did not start treatment until an hour after it took place, and these delays led to the woman’s death. Their experts also testified that the woman displayed signs of tamponade. They further noted that she had pericardial wires removed one week before the procedure, which can cause tamponade. The Baltimore City jury ruled in favor of the estate and awarded $5,872,150. However, the statutory cap on non-economic damages reduced the net recovery to $1,035,650.
- 2019, Baltimore County: $2,000,000 Verdict. A woman in her mid-30s underwent treatment for her migraines. The treating nurse administered Phenergan injections around her right hip. However, the woman alleged that the nurse miscalculated the anatomic landmarks before administration. Her sciatic nerve became damaged as a result. She felt pain immediately after receiving the injections. The woman would eventually claim permanent extensive pain, numbness, and a severe limp. She underwent surgical implantation of a neurostimulator to treat her pain. The woman sued the nurse, alleging that she improperly administered the injections. A Baltimore County jury awarded the woman $2,000,000 in past and future pain and suffering. However, she could only recover $755,000, based on Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages.
- 2019, Baltimore City: $500,000 Verdict. A 30-year-old dental assistant underwent an emergency laparotomy at Franklin Square Hospital to remove her infected uracil cyst. The surgeon used staples to close her bladder. Two years after the procedure, she passed a bladder stone that felt extremely painful. There was bleeding before and after she passed it. She examined it and noticed that it contained a metal staple. The woman sought a urologist, who treated her bladder stones by blasting them with a laser. He also gave her medication to help control her urination frequency. She continued to seek intermittent treatment for her pain for four years. The woman sued the surgeon, claiming that he should have used sutures rather than staples to close her bladder. Her treating urologists testified, claiming that the metal staples used in surgical procedure caused her bladder stones. The woman’s general surgery expert testified that the use of staples violated the standard of care. A Baltimore City jury ruled in favor of the woman and awarded $500,000.
- 2019, Prince George’s County: $1,918,400 Verdict. A 40-something man broke his wrist and hip in an ATV accident. Upon being brought to Johns Hopkins’ emergency department, he was put in a knee immobilizer and given crutches. The man then consulted a physician for his hip fracture and his wrist pain. The physician instructed that he not put weight on his right leg and provided a splint for support on his wrist. He was also referred to the physician’s partner for evaluation of his wrist fracture. The partner recommended surgery to repair his fractured wrist. However, he did not request records from Johns Hopkins. As a result, he was unaware of the hip fracture. On the morning of the scheduled surgery, he was found dead on his bedroom floor. An autopsy revealed that a blood clot in his right leg traveled to his lungs and caused a saddle embolism. His estate sued the partner and his physician’s group for negligence. Specifically, they claimed that he failed to perform a pulmonary embolism risk assessment and failed to provide anticoagulants. His widow also claimed that her husband was immobile because he could not use crutches. This put him especially at risk for a pulmonary embolism. The Prince George’s County jury awarded the estate $1,918,400.