A Maryland jury has awarded $28 million in damages following a medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Baltimore over claims that a doctor misdiagnosed an ulcer.
The verdict came last Thursday in the Baltimore City Circuit Court, in a case brought by Gary B. Stern in March 2014. According to allegations raised in the complaint, Stern’s gastroenterologists failed to properly diagnose an ulcer that had created a hole in Stern’s intestines in 2011.
As a result of the ulcer misdiagnosis, Stern had to undergo numerous surgeries and was hospitalized repeatedly over a period of three years. Stern claims that he was left with short-bowel syndrome, and can no longer work or take care of himself, requiring use of a wheelchair and a central line for nutrition.
Following a three week trial, the jury found that the doctors had failed to meet the standards of care, because they assumed the abdominal pain Stern reported was associated with his Crohn’s disease, and did not look at any other possible causes. They also erred in believing that the repeated surgeries caused his Crohn’s disease symptoms to intensify instead of properly diagnosing the ulcer.
The verdict includes $14 million for future medical and caregiver expenses, $1 million for past medical expenses, and $13 million for noneconomic damages. The noneconomic damages, which includes $5 million for loss of consortium in his marriage, will be reduced under the Maryland damage cap to approximately $695,000.
Defense attorneys for the doctors attempted to argue that Stern’s injuries were caused by other parties who settled out of court before the trial began. They have indicated that an appeal will be filed.