October 25, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 18, 2013, a Maryland medical malpractice jury in a sparsely populated Western Maryland county returned its verdict in the amount of more than $7 million in favor of the family of a newborn infant who allegedly suffered a severe brain injury because the  infant’s pediatrician failed to timely diagnose a serious but treatable medical condition (a congenital heart defect that involved the narrowing of the baby’s aorta) days after the baby’s birth. The full-term pregnancy and the delivery were uncomplicated and the baby appeared healthy at the time of her birth on March 26, 2008.

The parents brought the baby to the pediatrician for a routine check up three days after birth. During the pediatrician’s physical examination of the baby, the pediatrician recorded an elevated heart rate of 184 beats per minute. Two days later, the pediatrician recorded a heart rate of 192 beats per minute. Despite these abnormal findings, the Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the pediatrician “failed to undertake any additional evaluation or examinations and failed to refer [the baby] for specialty consultation and evaluation.”

Five days later, on April 3, 2008, the baby’s mother noticed that her infant was having difficulty breathing and was not feeding normally. During a hospital visit later that same day, it was observed that the area around the baby’s mouth was blue. The baby was promptly transported to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; during the trip to Baltimore, the baby had to be resuscitated at least once.

Once the baby arrived at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, an echocardiogram determined that the baby had a congenitally narrowed aorta, which the plaintiffs alleged in their medical malpractice lawsuit is a common defect for which timely surgical treatment is highly effective. Nine days after birth, the baby had emergency heart surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital during which the baby experienced full cardiac arrest. The baby required an artificial lung for eleven days after the surgery. The infant remained in the hospital for two months.

The child suffered cerebral palsy (a permanent brain injury) and suffers from a seizure disorder that will require lifetime medical care that would have been avoided had the pediatrician timely referred the baby for a timely consultation with a pediatric cardiologist after observing the baby’s abnormally high heart rate on the two occasions in the days after the baby’s birth, according to the medical malpractice lawsuit.

At the conclusion of the nine-day jury trial, the Maryland medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiffs $269,909.13 for the child’s past medical expenses, $4,518,665 for the child’s future medical expenses and future life care expenses, $1,218,155 for the child’s anticipated future lost wages, and $1,000,000 in noneconomic expenses. The jury’s award for noneconomic damages will be automatically reduced to $695,000, pursuant to the Maryland statutory cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims that was in effect at the time of the alleged medical negligence.


If you may be the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly consult with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.

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