Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Dismissed When Plaintiff Dies

Katrina Dennis was regent at the University of Maryland, but she also practiced law as a corporate attorney. Perhaps that gave her an edge when she hired a lawyer of her own so she could sue the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and one of the doctors who worked there for negligence in the care she was receiving after a breast cancer diagnosis. But when the cancer killed her, the case was dropped.

Why?

The trial to determine if the hospital and doctor were liable for the spread of her cancer was only supposed to last two weeks in the Baltimore County Circuit Court, but Dennis died before it could be completed.

Robert Welchek, who represented Dennis, acknowledged to reporters that the judge declared a mistrial and dismissed the case when Dennis died of complications. Welchek and her other representatives did not oppose the motion to dismiss, nor did they provide any further information on the case.

Dennis discovered she had breast cancer when she was diagnosed in 2015.

According to case files, Dennis believed that she had received a negligent standard of care because her doctor allegedly led her to believe her breast cancer would be cured without potential recurrences after surgery to remove the tumor. She also contended that her doctor should have put her on a drug called Tamoxifen, which is supposed to prevent cancer cells from spreading after such a surgery.

Her second diagnosis with breast cancer occurred in 2017. By then the cancer cells had spread to blood, bones, and organs and could not be treated successfully.

Lawyers representing the hospital and the doctor said they believed that Dennis had been provided with the same standard of care anyone else could have received. Her doctor listed her options and subsequently continued to perform blood tests to try to detect the spread of cancer cells early. These attempts to save her life failed.

Dennis served on both the Education Policy and Student Life Committee during her tenure on the Board of Regents. She also maintained a presence on the Organization and Compensation Committee in addition to placing as chair for the Coppin State University Presidential Search Committee.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted, “Katrina was a top lawyer, a respected leader in the Baltimore region, and someone who lived each day committed to giving back to her community.”

Had she won the case against the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, she would have received approximately $24 million in damages.

Even The Incarcerated Have Rights: Inmate Wins $1 Million For Medical Malpractice

One Virginia inmate is a little happier today, having won a massive medical malpractice lawsuit after accusing the prison’s medical personnel of providing him with improper care after he broke his finger. The records of a million-dollar payout were found via the U.S. District Court system. John Kinlaw, a 32-year-old who was serving time in a Virginia prison, won the cash settlement after finding legal help.

When asked about the experience, he said, “There should be no difference in the standard of treatment between an inmate and a regular person. The people that mistreated me were going to be held responsible.”

And therein lies the problem for many victims of medical malpractice — not only do they have to prove that they were somehow hurt by the care they received, but also that the care received was somehow different from the standard of care expected anywhere else. 

According to Kinlaw, he still feels the consequences of the improperly delivered care.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 against Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. as soon as Kinlaw was released from the Lunenburg Correctional Center. He accused prison staff of knowing that he had fractured his finger because of X-rays that had been taken. Normally the kind of break he suffered would require surgery. Instead, medical personnel at the correction center gave him a dose of Motrin and an ice pack to numb the area. 

He complained about the injury for weeks afterward, but they ignored him completely. In addition to Armor Correctional Health Services, Kinlaw named a Nurse Banks, Nurse Price, and Nurse Nwaokocha because they routinely denied new treatment.

It was over three months before the medical staff agreed to allow him to see a specialist. His theory that the fractured bone was healing improperly was confirmed.

Nexus Services Inc. is an organization that helps provide the basis for medical malpractice incurred during time spent in a correctional facility

Nexus CEO said, “What we do is we take cases involving complaints about government agencies, police, prisons, and jails, and evaluate them and refer them to a law firm to prosecute them, so we’ve been working with John…It’s very clear that they just didn’t want to spend money and perhaps that’s the ultimate irony because now they are going to have to pay over a million dollars to Mr. Kinlaw.”

Kinlaw’s settlement included $700,000 in damages and more than $300,000 in punitive damages (those that are meant to punish a person or organization for gross negligence).

How Do Breast Medical Malpractice Situations Arise?

How many of you have had acquaintances, friends, or family members diagnosed with breast cancer in the last five years? The reality is that you probably know someone, or at least have known someone in the past. The disease affects hundreds of thousands of women, 40,000 of whom will continue to die each year if we don’t find a way to eradicate breast cancer soon. Coping with cancer is hard enough — but what happens when you have to cope with the possibility of medical malpractice?

Malpractice cases are uncommon in general, but they arise in certain situations more than others. Those with breast cancer will want to pay especially close attention to the warning signs that their healthcare providers may have made a mistake.

Doctors sometimes fail to paint a complete picture of a person’s family history, sometimes due to laziness, sometimes due to a patient’s unwillingness to share, or sometimes simply due to incompetence. No matter how it happens, it’s part of the job to get it right, and get it right the first time. An incorrect family history can lead to incorrectly ordered tests to locate specific genes that can impact a patient’s fighting chance against breast cancer.

The genetic aspects of fighting cancer are becoming easier to use to our advantage, because sequencing the entire human genome is less expensive than ever before.

Communication is key: communication between you and your doctors, and then communication between your doctors. A break in communication can result in missed or inaccurate tests, or delayed treatment. These errors are the basis for many medical malpractice lawsuits involving breast cancer, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Even though women should check themselves for lumps at least once a month, some doctors won’t take a patient seriously if she finds something he missed during the doctor’s visit. If a doctor fails to follow through with routine healthcare, you know something is wrong. Don’t let them say it’s your imagination. Get a second opinion when necessary. Or a third.

Misreading of lab tests by technicians or other medical personnel can lead to misdiagnosis, which can in turn lead to improperly prescribed medications. Either issue can result in delay of proper treatment, which can turn life-threatening. In addition, having the wrong medication prescribed — or even wrongly dosed — can result in other complications or terrible side effects.

Common Signs Of Medical Malpractice

The truth is sometimes hard to swallow, but here it is: doctors are wrong more often than they care to admit. Their misdiagnoses and mistakes on the operating table can be deadly. Even though these mistakes are common, medical malpractice paid claims are not. For every one million residents in New York, there are only about 85 claims paid out each year. Part of the reason for this low number is because people do not always realize they were the subject of malpractice!

Here are a few of the most common warning signs of medical malpractice:

  1. Waking up in surgery. Anesthesiologists have one of the most difficult jobs in the business. Calculating how much anesthesia to give a person going into surgery is difficult and based on a number of factors. These include the part of the body operated on, weight of the recipient, allergies, supplements taken, prescription drugs taken, alcoholism, smoking, etc.

    Because these factors are sometimes impossible to accurately determine based on conversations with a patient, mistakes are common. If you wake up during surgery or feel any pain during an operation, you may be the subject of medical malpractice.

  2. Unusual pain. You might be surprised how often surgeons leave instruments inside a patient. If you encounter unusual pain after an operation and it just will not go away, consider visiting a different doctor to ensure the last one didn’t make a big mistake.

  3. Repeat Visits. If you repeatedly visit the doctor, you might be the subject of medical malpractice. This means that your doctor either failed to properly diagnose you in a timely fashion, or misdiagnosed you. This can allow a disease to fester longer and become more dangerous or even life-threatening. Many patients insist on a second opinion if they believe their symptoms are indicative of cancer or an equally life-threatening condition.

  4. Incorrect Medication. When misdiagnosed, you may receive the wrong medication for your ailment. Sometimes this can result in the real issue becoming even worse. Even when that is not the case, you are still susceptible to side effects from the incorrect medication. Another situation that might arise occurs when a doctor prescribes you the incorrect dosage of a drug for the correct disease.

  5. Consent. Doctors are not allowed to perform risky procedures or treatments without your express permission or the permission of your power of attorney. The only exception occurs when the patient is unconscious or a procedure must be performed immediately to save a patient’s life. If you were not properly informed of all the risks of a procedure, or a doctor performed a procedure without your permission, then you might have a case of medical malpractice.

  6. Admission. Although it’s rare for doctors to admit their mistakes (for liability reasons), it has been known to happen on occasion. When they do, it’s important you know that you have the right to compensation for medical malpractice, and you should enlist the services of a competent lawyer.

Common Surgical Mistakes

When we undergo surgery, we expect our health care professionals to do everything correctly. This is their job after all. However, mistakes, unfortunately, do happen. If any of these mistakes happened to you or a loved, if they are due to negligence, then you might be able to file for a medical malpractice lawsuit

Foreign Objects Left In Patient’s Body

The most common surgical instrument left in a patient’s body are surgical sponges.  But often other equipment such as scalpels, pads, gauze and clamps are left in patient’s bodies. Some might go unnoticed at first but can eventually lead to pain, infections and even death. To prevent this from happening there is usually a manual count for all equipment used in surgery but human error can happen when counting. 

Anesthesia Errors 

There are a myriad of errors that can occur with anesthesia. If too much is administered the patient can get too little oxygen to the brain causing damage and sometimes death. If there is too little given, the patient can wake up in the middle of surgery causing extreme pain. 

Also Marijuana users beware. THC conflicts with anesthesia. It is important if you are getting surgery that the anesthesiologist knows that you partake in the substance so he can properly administer the correct amount of anesthesia. They will not he held liable if you wake up in the middle of surgery if you did not disclose that you were using the drug. 

Prolonged Or Additional Injury

Surgery has its risks. One mistake by the doctor can cause additional injury, permanent disability or nerve damage. They might not even be able to adequately repair the initial injury. Other types of negligence by a surgeon could be wrong side (i.e. kidney stone removal from the left kidney but performing the operation on the right kidney) and wrong patient wrong surgery (i.e. paperwork mishap). 

What Is Medical Malpractice?

The legal definition of medical malpractice is as following: a healthcare professional (such as a doctor or nurse) or a healthcare facility (such as a hospital or nursing home) through the act of negligence causes harm or injury to a patient. 

What is Medical Negligence? 

There are several different kinds of medical negligence including but not limited to: 

  • failure to diagnose ailment (missed diagnosis) 
  • diagnosed wrong ailment (misdiagnosis) 
  • misred lab or test results 
  • improper medication or dosage 
  • prescription errors 
  • anesthesia errors 
  • surgical errors 
  • birth injuries 

Characteristics of A Medical Malpractice Case

Under the law, in order for a case to qualify to be tried as a medical malpractice case the following conditions need to be met: 

  1. Establish that there was a breach in the standard of care. Medical professionals are held to a certain standard to perform reasonable and acceptable medical treatment. If these conditions are not met by any of the things listed above, negligence might have occurred. 
  2. The breach in the stands of care caused an injury. If the healthcare professional breached the standard of care but no injury occurred, then the case is invalid. It is up to the patient and their attorneys to approve that an injury occurred as a direct result of the negligent actions of the healthcare professionals or facility. 
  3. The injury sustained resulted in damages. It is also not enough to have just sustained an injury. The injury must have caused severe enough damages to the patient that part of their life was impacted in a significant way such as being unable to work or requiring lifelong medical treatment. 
Basics of Medical Malpractice Law

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional then it is in your best interested to get in touch with our medical malpractice immediately by filling out the contact form. Our team of medical experts and legal professionals will go over the aspects of your case and work with you to get the compensation you deserve.