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Maryland medical malpractice suit faces hurdle

Medical malpractice litigation can be time consuming. Persistence can be required, but sometimes fighting the good fight is worth the effort. That may be something one Maryland woman is encountering as she seeks relief for the injuries she sustained due to surgical errors while in the care of a prominent Harford County physician. The appellate court hearing the case recently decided to send the matter back to the circuit court for a new trial.

The matter involved a surgical procedure that was performed in July 2007. The Maryland woman went to the medical facility where the Harford physician works to have a procedure to repair a blocked aorta. According to the complaint, the physician chose the wrong size graft for the job. The result of the surgical error was that the woman was left paralyzed.

After hearing the evidence, the Harford County Circuit court jury returned a verdict for the woman and she was granted an award of $2,874,398 in damages. The physician appealed the decision arguing that the court was wrong to prohibit a 2007 CAT scan, abused its discretion by allowing a particular expert witness to testify on the issue, and improperly admitted the physician's lack of certification into evidence.

The appellate court agreed in part and disagreed in part. The court disagreed that the prosecution's witness should not have been allowed to testify as an expert as to the woman's injuries and cause of paralysis. The court agreed, however, that the lower court should have allowed the 2007 CAT scan into evidence to clarify the size of aorta and therefore the necessary size of the graft. The court also agreed that the doctor's lack of certification should not have been allowed into evidence.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Appeals court overturns Harford jury's ruling in medical malpractice case, orders new trial," Erika Butler, The Aegis, June 19, 2012

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