On October 17, 2019, a Prince George’s County, Maryland medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a man who lost his right leg allegedly as a result of the defendant hospital’s orthopedic surgeon’s negligence following the man being involved in a rollover single-car accident in which he also lost his left leg.
The Maryland medical malpractice jury trial lasted ten days after which the jury awarded the plaintiff $6,285,549 (including $5 million for attendant care, $550,000 for a prosthetic leg, $210,857 for durable medical equipment, $165,000 for medical case management, and $300,000 for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering).
The Underlying Facts
The plaintiff lost control of his car after apparently drinking. His car hit a guardrail and then flipped over three times. The plaintiff was extricated from his car and then transported by ambulance from the scene to defendant Prince George’s Hospital Center, at about 1:30 a.m. on May 3, 2014.
The plaintiff suffered open fractures in his lower left leg, closed fractures in his lower right leg, and open fractures of his left forearm. Medical testing at the hospital revealed a rupture of his popliteal artery in his left leg. After being resuscitated in the trauma unit, the plaintiff was brought to the operating room to address the popliteal artery rupture and fractures. The on-call orthopedic surgeon performed an allegedly incomplete fasciotomy of the plaintiff’s lower right leg by making two small incisions through which ischemic muscle was noted to bulge through three days after the surgery. The plaintiff was later returned to the operating room due to loss of pulse in his left leg due to an occluded bypass. It was during that surgery that other surgeons noted the incomplete fasciotomy and the diagnosis of compartment syndrome was made with regard to the plaintiff’s right leg, which ultimately could not be saved.
The plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that the defendant orthopedic surgeon breached the standard of care by failing to adequately release the compartments in his right leg and by also failing to monitor the plaintiff for development of compartment syndrome. The jury found that the defendant orthopedic surgeon was the apparent agent of the defendant hospital based on the facts submitted to the jury.
The plaintiff claimed damages for the additional life care needs resulting from being a bilateral lower extremity amputee (he lost his left leg due to the accident and not due to medical negligence), the additional prosthetic leg, and additional attendant care needs.
Terence A. Williams v. Dimensions Health Corp. et al., Circuit Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County, Case No.: CAL17-35481.
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