The estate of a deceased Maryland woman, along with her surviving husband and adult children, have been awarded $600,000 in a wrongful death medical malpractice case in Maryland. The plaintiffs had brought the case against the hospital where the 72-year-old woman had surgery in 2010. They alleged that the hospital was negligent in its failure to recognize numerous signs post-surgery that suggested the woman was not fit to be discharged from the hospital.
The woman had surgery on February 23, 2010 for a subtotal colectomy to treat a 5-year history of diverticulosis. A subtotal colectomy is the removal of the colon, leaving behind the rectum. It is commonly performed for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
After surgery, the woman experienced a number of complications. These included:
- Abdominal pain
- Respiratory rate of 20
- Elevated pulse rate
- Cognitive impairment
Despite these complications, the woman was discharged from the hospital on March 1.
On March 3, she was transported to the hospital by an ambulance, and diagnosed with septic shock, and kidney and liver failure. Pus was found throughout her abdominal cavity. Despite efforts to treat her conditions, the woman died on March 11.
The woman’s husband, 6 adult children, and estate brought a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, alleging that it was negligent in failing to diagnose and treat her medical conditions, and in discharging her from the hospital when it did. After three weeks, the trial jury returned a verdict of $600,000 in economic damages, and $40,000 for each of the woman’s survivors in noneconomic damages.