Medical Malpractice Jury Award in Pittsburgh

In a medical malpractice trial in Pittsburgh, the jury found that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at Shadyside’s care of the Plaintiff was both medical negligence and that it was the cause of the death of a man. The jury awarded $2.5 million under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act. They gave no damages under the Pennsylvania Survival Act.

Incredibly, the jury issued a statement as to why: “After eight days of testimony in the case of Rettger v. UPMC Shadyside, it is the unanimous opinion of the jury that no amount of damages will adequately punish UPMC. It is our belief that UPMC Shadyside’s policies, culture, and lack of competent supervision resulted in the death [of the decedent].”

The plaintiffs now seek a new trial because they had evidence to show that the decedent’s lost earning capacity was between $4 million and $15 million.

I wish the Plaintiff medical malpractice lawyers all the luck in the world as they continue their fight on behalf of the victim’s family. This appeal would not fly under Maryland medical malpractice law because of the wide discretion given to juries to determine damages. Still, it is hard to understand why the jury disregarded the judge’s instructions and the overwhelming evidence regarding lost earning capacity, particularly considering how strongly they apparently believe in the hospital’s negligence.