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Hospital appeals $3 million medical malpractice award

Medical malpractice lawsuits are never easy. In fact, due to the sheer complexity of medical malpractice cases, lawsuits can last years. One reason that medical malpractice and hospital negligence cases get so drawn out is because of the many grounds available for appeal. Some Maryland readers may have read about the following case involving OhioHealth and a $2.8 million award.

The case involved a man who was paralyzed due to an egregious act of hospital negligence and failures in supervision. The plaintiff's neck was broken when staff improperly restrained him. At the end of the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff nearly $3 million in damages for his injuries, but attorneys for the hospital appealed the verdict after it was discovered the judge admonished the jurors for not deliberating properly.

The jury was asked two questions: was the hospital negligent and did the hospitals negligence cause the injuries. Six members of the jury, the number necessary for a verdict, found the hospital was negligent, and a different six found that the negligence did not cause the plaintiff's injuries. The judge, however, informed the jury that only those who voted yes on the first question could vote on the second question.

Because of the dispute the judge has delayed enforcement of the judgment until the attorneys are able to resolve the matter. Prolonging matters even more, the judge recently took time off for maternity leave and will not be returning to the bench until September. While little can be done to speed things up, it is certainly an unfortunate situation for the plaintiff who likely needs the money for ongoing medical care.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "OhioHealth appeals over jury's flip flop in malpractice case," John Futty, June 8, 2013.

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