Verdict in Colonscopy Case

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that a Hamilton County jury found that a local, prominent gastroenterologist must pay $12 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a colonoscopy and endoscopy, which were meant to diagnose a 33-year-old woman’s bowel problems, left the plaintiff with serious brain damage.

“It is very, very difficult to get a judgment against a doctor,” said Matt Dwyer, a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who was apparently brought in on the case. “People don’t like to find doctors at fault.”

Under Tennessee’s comparative fault law, the jury found the doctor’s medical malpractice was 51% percent of the cause of Plaintiff’s permanent brain damage, so the actual verdict is $6.12 million.

Maryland’s Draconian contributory negligence law requires a defense verdict in a malpractice case where a plaintiff is even 1% at fault for an accident. The article does not explain at whose lap the jury placed the other 49% of the fault. But if they placed it with someone other than the Plaintiff, Maryland’s contributory negligence law would ironically lead to a better outcome for the Plaintiff. In Maryland, you can recover a full verdict against any defendant who is a substantially contributory cause of the injury, as long as you were not also a cause of your own injuries.