After a one-week Maryland medical malpractice jury trial and two days of jury deliberations, the jury awarded the medical malpractice plaintiff approximately $2.1 million on April 2, 2014, which will be reduced to $1.3 million after applying Maryland’s cap (limit) on noneconomic damages. The medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that her surgeon’s use of a synthetic mesh to repair her paraesophageal hernia has left her with a permanent hernia and the inability to eat normally.
The woman had her initial surgery on September 11, 2009, to repair a hernia in her diaphragm where the esophagus runs through it, which was allowing her stomach and other abdominal organs to push upwards into her chest. Her hernia returned after her first surgery, requiring a second surgery on September 23, 2009, by the same surgeon, who then used synthetic mesh to repair the hernia. Despite the two surgeries, the woman was diagnosed in October 2009 with an esophageal leak that required her to be tube-fed from October to December 2009. During the period from December 2009 to April 2010, the woman lost 60 pounds as result. She was placed on a feeding tube in April 2010 when she was too weak for further surgery.
In May 2010, the woman had further surgery performed by another surgeon at a different hospital. The surgeon found a lot of the mesh surrounded by tissue that was difficult to remove, which resulted in the complication of an esophageal leak. In July 2010, the same surgeon performed surgery intended to repair the tear but found too much mesh within the woman’s esophagus.
The woman was then referred to a specialist at another Maryland hospital where a stent was placed in her esophagus to allow her to eat. The woman has required five laser surgeries since November 2010 to remove the mesh and she is scheduled for another laser surgery this month.
The plaintiff alleged in her Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that the synthetic mesh used by her original surgeon caused her esophagus to erode and that her original surgeon used the wrong type of mesh, that he used the mesh in the wrong manner, and that her surgeon failed to obtain her informed consent for the surgery during which the mesh was used (however, the jury found against the plaintiff on her lack of informed consent claim). The medical malpractice defendant alleged that the subsequent surgeon caused a tear in the woman’s esophagus, which allowed the mesh to enter her esophagus.
The plaintiff testified during her Maryland medical malpractice trial that she now can only eat small amounts and she must eat slowly, that she now has a ventral hernia that limits her to lifting not more than five pounds, she cannot bend over, and that she must wear a special girdle as a result of her medical condition.
After the jury spent one week hearing and considering the trial testimony and evidence, and spending two days in jury deliberations, resulting in the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff on her medical negligence claim but also finding in favor of the defendant with regard to the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent claim, the defendant’s lawyer showed his distrust of and disdain for jurors when he reportedly stated, “There is no explanation for the jury’s decision. It is truly a classic miscarriage of justice. I don’t know what happened in their brains, if they have any … I have seen some pretty egregious stuff. This is one of the worst I have ever seen.”
Source Watt, et al. v. Tshibaka, et al., Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Case No.: 03-C-12-012005.
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