On June 27, 2022, a Circuit Court for Baltimore County medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $2.4 million ($143,305.96 for past medical expenses and $2,256,694.04 in non-economic damages, which will be reduced pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases) after a two-week trial involving the negligent treatment of her breast cancer.
The plaintiff had a mastectomy for triple negative breast cancer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) on February 8, 2018 during which the tumor and biopsy marker were not removed, leading to a false proclamation of “complete pathologic response” to pre-op chemotherapy. A mammogram was performed at the one-week follow-up appointment after the surgery but a radiologist with Advanced Radiology failed to note that the tumor and biopsy marker had been left behind by the surgeon, as confirmed by the surgical pathology report and post-op imaging. As a result, the woman’s breast cancer remained untreated for almost one year.
In November 2018, an ultrasound found the tumor that remained in the woman’s breast after which she had a lumpectomy followed by a “repeat” mastectomy and then radiation therapy in the Spring of 2019.
The woman’s Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that she was at increased risk of recurrence of her breast cancer as a result, that the standard of care for patients who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer followed by surgery is immediate treatment with additional therapy because it increases survival rates, and that “No one has studied the effect of delaying removal of a chemotherapy resistant triple negative breast cancer tumor for over a year after the completion of the first round of chemotherapy.”
One of the woman’s Maryland medical malpractice lawyers stated after the verdict, “It is the system that must be held accountable. And the jury with its verdict did just that. Ms. Ward and I are very grateful for their decision.”
Maryland’s medical malpractice law provides “an award or verdict under this subtitle for noneconomic damages for a cause of action arising between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, inclusive, may not exceed $650,000. (ii) The limitation on noneconomic damages provided under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall increase by $15,000 on January 1 of each year beginning January 1, 2009. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between January 1 and December 31 of that year, inclusive.”
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