October 2011 Archives

October 26, 2011

Parents sue hospital, pediatrician for faulty genetic counseling

gavel2.jpgA Portland, Oregon couple, filed a lawsuit seeking $23 million in damages over the practitioners' late diagnosis of their second son's Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As a result of the late diagnosis, the parents allege they were denied the opportunity to exercise "reproductive choices," prior to their third son being born with the same condition.

Our Annapolis and Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorneys have years of experience representing Plaintiffs whose children have been affected by catastrophic birth injuries. These injuries have a lasting emotional and financial impact on parents, as they must often pay for a lifetime of medical care and see their children subjected to pain and suffering.

The Oregon lawsuit alleges that due to the negligence of the defendants, the parents will watch both boys lose the ability to walk by their early teens and will ultimately die from the progressive condition.

The first son was born in 2003. The lawsuit alleges that the first son immediately showed developmental abnormalities after birth. Although the parents sought medical help, the son was not diagnosed with the condition until October 2010, which was two years after their third son was born. Their third son is also affected by the disease.

The suit alleges that the defendants failed to recognize the second son's abnormalities and failed to diagnose him, and moreover failed to advise them of the likelihood of a subsequent child having the same condition.

Duchenne's muscular dystrophy is a condition that affects one in 3,000 boys, which includes delays in walking, trouble going up stairs, frequent falls and large calf muscles. There is no known cure.

Cases like this are often difficult and sensitive, because such cases could send a negative message to children when they learn that their parents may wish that they were not born. Additionally, these cases might suggest that a child that is handicapped is less desirable than a non-handicapped child. These critiques overlook the emotional and painful impact these issues have on families.

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October 19, 2011

Ohio wild animal escape prompts discussion on Maryland Animal Law

lion.jpgIf you haven't heard yet, there are about 56 lions and tigers and bears that escaped and are 1 remaining monkey that escaped and is on the loose from a Zanesville, Ohio preserve Monday after the owner of the property, Terry Thompson, apparently decided to release all of the animals from his property and then decided killed himself. This has certainly disrupted life in Ohio, as the local school district canceled class in light of the threat of attack.

Our Annapolis Maryland injury attorneys and Annapolis Maryland Dog Bite attorneys often receive calls from those who have the misfortune of being the victim of dog bites from another's pet. The law contemplates a remedy for a victim against the owner, although the remedy is different depending on whether the animal is a wild animal or domesticated animal.

Under Maryland law, an animal owner is Strictly Liable for injuries caused by wild animals as long as the injured person did nothing to bring about his or her injury. In other words, by the very nature of Mr. Thompson maintaining the lions, tigers and bears as pets, he is responsible for any damages they cause, whether it is damage to person or property. Since Mr. Thompson is now deceased, if one of Mr. Thompson's animals attacks a human or damages another's property, a claim will likely be made against his estate.

Domesticated animals, like dogs and cats, are treated differently. For an owner of a domesticated pet to be proven liable, an owner is not strictly liable for injuries caused by domestic animals unless the owner has knowledge of the animal's dangerous propensities that are not common to the species. In other words, the owner has to know that the animal has the propensity to attack humans.

You might have heard the phrase that "every dog gets one free bite." In other words, it is often misunderstood that unless the dog has bitten before then there is no owner liability. That is not always true, because an owner can also be liable for negligence when he exerts ineffective control over his animal where an injury is likely to occur.

If the dog has bitten a person before, however, obviously the owner is on notice of the animal's tendencies and that certainly supports proving liability. If an owner knows that his dog is vicious, then the owner will be strictly liable for the injuries his animal causes, just like the owner of a wild animal.

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October 15, 2011

Jury awards $1.4 million for traumatic birth injury

A Jefferson County, Kentucky Jury awarded $1.4 million in damages to a woman, whose premature baby was decapitated during delivery at a local hospital in 2006.

Our Baltimore Annapolis Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys have years of experience representing Plaintiffs who have been affected by traumatic birth injuries.

The jury found the two doctors who conducted the procedure, Dr. Joseph Bilotta and Dr. William Koontz, liable for the full extent of the awarded damages. Meanwhile, the hospital and nurses involved in the case were held not liable.

All parties to the suit acknowledged that it was an extremely rare occurrence that the fetus was decapitated during birth. The doctors' attorney argued to the jury that the baby would not have survived regardless of the doctors and nurses actions, because the pregnancy was only about 21 weeks in duration.

The Plaintiff's attorney, however, argued that the mother was about 24 weeks into the pregnancy, where babies are potentially viable.

The Plaintiffs argued that the doctors failed to remove a cerclage, a device resembling a string, which is a surgical tool used to keep the Plaintiff's cervix closed. When the fetus was being delivered, the string acted "as a noose" which caused the decapitation.

The doctor acknowledged that he initially tried to deliver the baby with the cerclage intact, but eventually removed it. But the allegation was that it was removed too late in the procedure.

The $1.4 million the jury awarded was to compensate the mother, Micheatria Donelson, for her pain and suffering. Her attorneys argued that she is now depressed, has panic attacks and is unable to sleep more than a few hours each night.

On a slightly less somber note, she is now the mother of a two-year-old daughter.

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