Last week the Maryland Daily Record reported on a $2.3 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice suit in Towson.
The trial before Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Dana M. Levitz took six days and the jury deliberated for seven hours before returning a verdict, according to Plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer Daniel Clements of Salsbury Clements Bekman Marder & Adkins (Baltimore City) who tried the case along with J. Mitchell Lambros of Lambros & Lambros (Baltimore County). Both of these lawyers are extremely well respected medical malpractice lawyers in the Maryland legal community.
In this case, Plaintiff went to his doctor of 30 years on Sept. 3, 2003, complaining of headaches, vision problems and loss of balance. His doctor wrote down the letters “TIA” in the Plaintiff’s medical records, which Plaintiff’s attorney contended meant that he had properly diagnosed Jablecki with transient ischemic attack, which can portend a stroke. Plaintiff’s attorney argued that the doctor should have known that Plaintiff was a prime candidate for stroke and treated him with greater urgency. Instead, the doctor ordered a CT scan on September 5. The next day, the Plaintiff had a massive vertibular stroke. Today, Plaintiff has lost much of his ability to speak and to walk. (Last week, I wrote a blog post about these types of cases.)
A. Gwynn Bowie, Jr., a medical malpractice lawyer who represented the doctor accused of medical malpractice was quoted by the Daily Record as saying his client was “blameless. ” “I guess what I would say with respect to this verdict is, if not a result of pure sympathy, there is no rational explanation of the verdict,” the attorney said. “It is, in my opinion, completely unsupported by the facts and the record and it is a slap in the face of a good doctor who worked hard for 25 years to help keep a severely medically compromised patient alive. ”
Well, Mr. Bowie, the jury did not quite see it that way. Interestingly, although this was not reflected in the article, I’m told the jury awarded only $600,000 in pain and suffering and the rest in past and future medical bills and lost wages. It makes you wonder whether the jury gave an award approximating the Maryland cap on pain and suffering because it knew of the cap. With all of the talk of tort reform in the news of late, more and more juries know what they are not told by the judge or the lawyers during the trial such as the availability of insurance and the existence of a cap on non-economic damages in Maryland.