It took a Maryland medical malpractice jury just 45 minutes of deliberations on June 6, 2014, after eight days of trial, to find in favor of the defendant neurosurgeon. The Maryland medical malpractice plaintiff had sought compensation for past medical expenses in the amount of nearly $230,000, future medical expenses in the amount of $90,000, and loss of household services in the amount of nearly $400,000.
The Underlying Facts
The Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff was experiencing upper chest pain and occasional numbness in both of his legs when he was first examined by the neurosurgeon during July 2009. The neurosurgeon ordered an MRI that showed a herniated disc in the man’s spine. Surgery was preformed during October 2009 to address the herniated disc. Four days after returning home following the surgery, the man returned to the emergency room, with an unsteady gait. A repeat MRI showed a recurrence of the herniated disc.
The man was re-examined by the neurosurgeon at the end of October 2009. Exploratory surgery was suggested to address the stitches in the man’s muscles adjacent to his spine. The man agreed to have the surgery.
Following the second spinal surgery performed by the same neurosurgeon, the man experienced sensory changes in his feet and the return of his chest pain. The man was seen by the neurosurgeon on two more occasions during 2009.
The man sought a second opinion by another physician in the Spring of 2010, who recommended further surgery to address the beginning of spinal curvature that could result in paraplegia. The second physician operated on the man in June 2010, during which he removed the herniated disc and a vertebrae.
The Maryland man’s medical malpractice lawsuit, which was filed on May 3, 2013, alleged that the first surgeon failed to adequately decompress the man’s spine during the two surgeries. The defense alleged that it was not reasonable to remove the herniated disc and the vertebrae during the second surgery, noting that the third surgery that removed the disc and the vertebrae did not improve the man’s condition.
Source: The Daily Record, June 25, 2014.
An important issue that arose in this case (and which is being pursued more frequently by medical malpractice defense attorneys in Maryland and elsewhere) was the defendant’s request to be able to speak with the plaintiff’s treating physicians about the plaintiff’s medical history without a subpoena being issued and without the plaintiff’s consent or authorization, outside of the plaintiff’s presence, and without the plaintiff’s attorney being present. While the judge permitted such communication, the judge’s order made clear that the plaintiff’s treating physicians were permitted to disclose the plaintiff’s protected health care information but were not compelled to do so.
Richard Rose, et al. v. Alexandros Powers, M.D. et al., Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Case No. 376842V.
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