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Mistrial despite medical malpractice guilty verdict

Unfortunately, determining liability in a lawsuit does not always bring closure to the issue. Medical malpractice lawsuits tried in New York and other states around the country can be complicated and compromised in the event that the jury is unable to determine how much the plaintiff should be entitled to in damages. And while such technicalities may seem minor, they can have a serious impact on the outcome of the case. For instance, a mistrial was called recently in a case where the defendant had already been found guilty of making serious surgical mistakes.

The lawsuit was filed against a Maryland cardiologist and hospital, and was only one of close to 250 complaints made against the same two defendants. So far all of the other cases have ended in settlements, making the case in question unique in that it actually resulted in a guilty verdict.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that the defendant erroneously diagnosed him with a serious heart condition that the cardiologist claimed required surgery. The plaintiff allegedly underwent heart stent surgery even though it was later determined that the procedure was unnecessary. As a result, he asked for $50 million in damages for the financial hardship and emotional and medical distress he endured from the experience.

The judge presiding over the case decided that only the medical facility could be held liable for damages, even though the cardiologist was found guilty of medical malpractice. After days of jury deliberation over exactly how much the victim in the case was entitled to, the judge also ruled a mistrial. The jury was apparently unable to come to a conclusion on the case.

Fortunately, a second trial may only be necessary to determine damages since the guilty verdict is in place.

Source: Baltimore Sun, “Mistrial in Midei stent case as jury deadlocks on damages,” Jessica Anderson Nov. 6, 2013

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