Johns Hopkins $205 million jury verdict overturned in Maryland Appeals Court
The largest verdict in US history (twice as large as the previous highest verdict) relating to a birthing claim has been overturned in the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The Plaintiff alleged that she was not accurately informed by the doctors who recommended caesarean section, and opted for a natural birth instead. The lawsuit claimed doctors had told the Plaintiff that the baby would die or be severely brain damaged if she underwent a caesarean section and that she declined a C-section procedure based on the doctors’ recommendations. The baby was born with severe mental and physical disabilities as a result of severe preeclampsia.
According to the ruling, hospital staff warned the Plaintiff that a caesarean section delivery was the best option, but she refused, stating that she would only have a caesarean if her own life was in danger.
At the end of the appeal hearing, it was concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that any material information was withheld or that there was any negligence involved with her treatment.
It is without doubt a very sad and unfortunate case.
Had the verdict not have been overturned, Johns Hopkins said that doctors may refuse to care for Obstetric patients, which would have been disastrous given the expertise and the number of births they assist with each year.
This case also highlights that Maryland is clearly a very tough venue given the medical liability pay-outs are twice the size of the national average.
In its appeal, Bayview argued that the trial court should have granted its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict because plaintiff did not offer sufficient evidence to support a finding of failure to provide informed consent or negligence. The Court agreed with Bayview and overturned the sizeable verdict. The Court held that plaintiff offered no evidence that there was a material piece of information withheld from her that would have changed her decision. In fact, she did not allege that the doctors failed to disclose any material facts from her. Therefore, plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence that doctors violated her right to informed consent. The Court also held that plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence that Bayview was negligent in her treatment. The Court held that in this case, because the plaintiff did not testify, the jury could only rely on doctors’ notes as to why she did not consent to a cesarian section. The notes said that she was concerned with the pain as a result of the surgery and wanted to “let nature take its course”. The Court ...