Washington D.C. Medical Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements
Below is a list of jury verdicts and settlements in Washington D.C. malpractice cases.
If you look at these results without reading this introduction, you are going to be misled. First, if you are buying into the "urban city means guaranteed big verdicts and lots of malpractice claims," think again. There are less than a dozen malpractice cases filed in D.C. each year and a small number of those go to verdict and... a small number of those end in a plaintiff's victory. This is the reality: more than 80% of these cases seem to end in defense verdicts.
The take-home message? This verdict and settlement data is useful - I think particularly useful to show to defense lawyers and insurance adjusters - but take it with a grain of salt. These are the winners.
November, 2018 - $3.6 Million Verdict. A two-week-old child suffers awful chemical burns as the result of an infiltrated IV line at Georgetown Hospital.
- January 31, 2017 – $494,250 Verdict. A 56-year-old woman is admitted to defendant hospital for abdominal pain. A CT reveals appendicitis, and defendant surgeon removes her appendix the following evening. At some point, her appendix ruptures and fills the operative field with an infection. This causes an obstruction and the surgeon lacerates her bladder. She has a second surgery done to repair her bladder but claims she is left with permanent chronic urinary urgency. The woman claims that the failure to timely perform the appendectomy led to the rupture of her appendix. Defendants argue that bladder perforation was a known risk of the surgery and that the appendix ruptured as it was being removed. A jury found for the plaintiff and awarded her $322,250. They also awarded her husband $150,000 for his loss of consortium claim.
- March 23, 2016 – $500,000 Verdict. A 35-year-old man goes to the defendant's ER and he is evaluated by the defendant physician. He has dizziness, dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. The man is hospitalized for three days with high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and weakness. During his stay, a standing X-ray is done. During the X-ray, the man falls and fractures his femur. Surgery and hardware are required to fix the fracture. He files this case against the doctor and hospital alleging negligence in failing to perform a fall risk assessment prior to conducting a standing X-ray. The doctor is dismissed from the case, and the hospital argues that the man assumed the risk when he agreed to the X-ray. A jury awarded the man $500,000 against the hospital.
- May 8, 2015 – $3,350,276 Verdict. An adult man is having an exploratory left popliteal artery angiogram done by the defendant, a cardiothoracic surgeon. The man has a history of vascular disease, allegedly making the procedure unnecessary. After the procedure, the man suffers a restricted blood supply to his left lower extremity, ultimately resulting in an above-the-knee amputation. The man claims that his symptoms could have been managed with medication instead of the procedure. Defendants claim that the man's pre-existing vascular disease would have resulted in the loss of his leg regardless. A jury awarded the man $2,750,276.16 and awarded his wife $600,000 for her loss of consortium claim. The judgment was later reduced to a total of $1,116,758.12.
- April 20, 2015 – $600,000 Settlement. A woman has a gastric bypass procedure done and she is discharged from the hospital three days later. The next day, she calls the defendant surgeon to report vomiting and nausea. She is instructed to return to the hospital, where she also reports severe abdominal pain. The surgeon diagnoses her with dehydration and malnutrition, and fluids are administered. Her pain increases overnight and into the next morning. A CT is done almost 26 hours after her admission to the hospital. Five hours after the scan, defendant surgeon reviews it and finds a bowel obstruction. During surgery, he finds a significant amount of bowel leakage. After surgery, the woman experiences respiratory failure, and her condition rapidly deteriorates. She dies from sepsis. Her Estate files this claim, alleging the defendants failed to timely perform a CT scan to diagnose her blockage, and that they failed to timely perform emergent surgery. Defendants argued that she was properly observed and that nothing they could have done would have changed the outcome of the case. The parties settled for $600,000.
- September 15, 2014 – $500,000 Settlement. A 57-year-old woman goes to the hospital for spinal decompression surgery. She has a past medical history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The surgery is done under general anesthesia. Three days later, the woman has chest pain and asks for medication. Defendants perform an EKG and give her narcotic pain medication. Shortly after, the woman is found pulseless, resuscitative efforts fail, and she is pronounced dead. Her Estate files this medical malpractice claim, alleging that the woman suffered fluid overload and developed pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure. They claim that the appropriate pre-operative tests would have revealed she suffered abnormal cardiac function, resulting in a modification of care. The parties settle the claim for $500,000.
- June 26, 2014 – $400,000 Verdict. A woman is having a C-section done at defendant hospital. When the woman's baby is born, it has bruising, skin discoloration, swelling, necrotic tissue, infection, scarring, and a scalp hematoma. His parents allege that the defendant's negligence caused their baby injuries, specifically the failure to monitor and treat the baby's intravenous line infiltration and to prevent the spread of I.V. fluid or medications once they leaked into the tissue. The defendants deny liability but a jury awards the plaintiffs $400,000.
- March 31, 2014 – $436,726 Verdict. A 70-year-old woman has lens implantation surgery in her right eye by defendant ophthalmologist. Within a few weeks, she is referred to a specialist who diagnoses her with suprachoroidal hemorrhage and choroidal detachment of her right eye. Surgery is attempted to fix it, but it is unsuccessful and she is left with a permanent loss of vision in her right eye. She files this claim, alleging that she reported pain to the surgeon during the procedure and the following morning. She claims that the surgeon failed to diagnose her with a choroidal hemorrhage and that he should have stopped the surgery when she complained of pain. She alleges that the delay in referring her to a specialist led to the permanent loss of vision in her right eye. A jury awarded the woman $463,726.
- February 5, 2014 – $120,000 Verdict. A woman goes to the defendant to have her kidney disease and inflammation managed. Defendants prescribe the woman an allegedly inappropriate dosage of Prednisone, resulting in overdose symptoms. Due to the overdose, she suffers kidney failure, toxic epidermal necrolysis (a potentially life threatening dermatologic disorder), severe edema, fluid leakage and abdominal pain leaving her permanently disabled. Defendants fail to treat her overdose, and do not admit her to the hospital. The defendants disputed liability and the extent of the woman's injuries, but a jury awarded her $120,000.
- January 13, 2014 – $1,500,000 Settlement. A three-month-old infant goes to defendant hospital for eye surgery. During the surgery, an antibiotic is administered directly into his eye, instead of saline solution. As a result, the infant is left permanently blind in his right eye. His parents bring this claim against the hospital, alleging their negligence caused the infant to suffer blindness in his eye. Since the infant already had a visual impairment in his left eye, he is rendered nearly completely blind. The parties settle before trial for $1.5 million.
- May 1, 2013 – $650,000 Verdict. A 59-year old man is recovering at defendant hospital with an abscess on his right buttock. He has risk factors for the development of blood clots. Defendants fail to prescribe the man any anticoagulants to prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. He develops a pulmonary embolus, due to deep vein thrombosis, and requires below-the-knee amputations on both legs. The defendants claim that the amputations were not related to the pulmonary embolism. A jury awards the man $650,000.
- June 21, 2012 – $5,363,499 verdict; wrongful death case where the defendant’s failure to screen a 69-year-old male for colon cancer despite complaints of rectal bleeding and other symptoms indicative of colon cancer led to a delayed diagnosis and death
- April 25, 2012 – $500,114 verdict; wrongful death case where the defendant radiologist group misinterpreted the mammogram of a 56-year-old female and reported a negative finding of breast cancer; the misreading of the film led to a 3-year delay in diagnosis; the plaintiff was subsequently diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer and died at the age of 60
- April 2, 2012 – $810,000 settlement; a 55-year-old male emergency room patient complained of chest pain and shortness of breath; a chest X-ray film revealed a nodule, but the doctors did not immediately inform him of the results; the plaintiff then left the hospital without permission, and diagnosis of lung cancer was delayed
- May 1, 2011 – $1,750,000 settlement; the chest X-ray of a 63-year-old female in 2005 revealed a mass on the left lung; the radiologist recommended a CT scan which was never performed, nor was the plaintiff advised of the X-ray findings; the doctors did not find out until 2008 about the lung malignancy, which resulted in a terminal prognosis
- October 22, 2010 – $6,500,000 verdict; the defendant failed to properly treat a bacterial infection during the mother’s pregnancy, resulting in the premature birth of the baby; tests had revealed an abnormal urinalysis when the mother visited the clinic, and the doctors did nothing; the child suffered from severe respiratory distress syndrome and other complications
- April 1, 2010 – $6,950,000 settlement; the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to adequately monitor the fetus, reduce Pitocin, and timely deliver the baby, resulting in severe brain injury following the baby’s birth; the child will be unable to participate in normal activities for the rest of her life, nor will she be able to care for herself; she will need specialized treatment and 24/7 attendant care.
- November 6, 2009 – $450,000 settlement; wrongful death case where the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to administer the proper medications to a 21-year-old male gunshot victim to prevent him from developing a pulmonary embolus that ultimately caused his death
- October 8, 2009 – $250,000 verdict; the plaintiff alleged that the defendant OBs failed to apply proper maneuvers for dealing with shoulder dystocia and instead used excessive force in delivering the baby; the baby ended up suffering from Erb’s palsy, with pain and limited strength and range of motion in the dominant arm
- September 14, 2009 – $662,500 settlement; a 12-year-old boy was injured playing baseball and complained of groin pain; the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to timely diagnose testicular torsion, resulting in the loss of the left testicle
- December 1, 2008 – $6,900,000 settlement; the plaintiff, a newborn male, underwent surgery to remove the vestigial tail; the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to identify, isolate, and protect the cauda equina during the surgery and partially transected it, resulting in paraplegia
- April 23, 2008 – $2,200,000 verdict; a 72-year-old male plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to diagnose necrotizing otitis externa, which led to damage to the cranial nerves, swallowing problems, insertion of a feeding tube, weight loss, a permanent cough, and three surgeries
- August 1, 2007 – $9,750,000 settlement; a 2-year-old female plaintiff was admitted to the defendant pediatric urologist due to urine reflux; the defendant implanted ureters, but the plaintiff continued to experience UTIs and underwent an ultrasound which showed blockage in left ureter; the defendant lost the ultrasound, resulting in her condition being unrecognized for a year; the plaintiff suffered loss of all function in the left kidney and compromised function in the right, and required need for dialysis and a future transplant
- March 1, 2007 – $1,213,408 verdict; the 43-year-old male plaintiff suffered a work-related inguinal hernia; the defendant surgeon punctured the vena cava during surgery, resulting in the plaintiff losing 70% of his blood; he was hospitalized for 8 days and sustained brain damage
- February 7, 2007 – $263,558 verdict; the 36-year-old female plaintiff was 20 weeks into pregnancy; a test revealed the chromosomal abnormality for Down’s Syndrome; the plaintiff scheduled a D&E, an abortion procedure, which the plaintiff alleged that the defendant OB/GYNS negligently performed; the plaintiff suffered lacerations in uterus, right ovary, and sigmoid colon and had to undergo an abdominal hysterectomy
- May 22, 2006 – $22,609,000 verdict; a 60-year-old male had a shunt that became infected at the skull surface; the defendant plastic surgeon covered it up with a flap of skin, resulting in a brain infection causing seizures, meningitis, and permanent neurologic injury
- March 28, 2006 – $618,607 verdict; a 73-year-old female underwent cardiac bypass surgery; she required an endotracheal tube which led to an infection; as a result, she was unable to talk above a low whisper, had constant coughing, and scar tissue from repeated surgical attempts to correct the problem made it difficult for her to swallow
- November 17, 2005 – $3,050,000 verdict; a 6-year-old boy’s legs were amputated after he developed an infection that was allegedly undiagnosed and untreated by the defendant doctor; the defendant referred the child to a pediatric clinic instead of the emergency room despite flu-like symptoms and vomiting
- May 9, 2005 – $17,400,000 verdict; the defendant performed a C-section on the 28-year-old female plaintiff, lacerating her bladder, ureter, and vagina; the plaintiff underwent a total hysterectomy; she was unable to bear children, suffered from PTSD, had overactive bladder syndrome, and experienced other medical complications
- December 16, 2004 – $761,604 verdict; wrongful death case where a 47-year-old male patient treated for an injury to Achilles’ tendon died from a pulmonary embolism; the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to adequately address the potential risks of immobilizing the decedent’s leg in a cast after surgery
- November 23, 2004 – $765,000 verdict; the defendant perforated the bladder of a 34-year-old female during an abdominal hysterectomy; the defendant also placed several sutures through the bladder during surgery and did not notice; the plaintiff suffered permanent urinary incontinence and underwent multiple surgeries to fix the ensuing infection
- November 1, 2003 – $3,057,650 verdict; the 45-year-old plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s failure to perform routine mammograms at ages 40, 41, and 42 resulted in a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer
- August 25, 2003 – $50,000,000 verdict; the 24-year-old female plaintiff experienced an anal sphincter tear during childbirth; she went to ob/gyn for examination; the records indicated that a recto-vaginal examination was performed, but in fact the rectal exam was never conducted; this resulted in the plaintiff having permanent partial bowel incontinence with fecal urgency that would worsen over time
- April 10, 2003 – $900,000 verdict; a 38-year-old female underwent a myomectomy procedure for the removal of uterine fibroid tumors; the defendant used a type of incision that resulted in a cutaneous infection, which led to an uterine infection and required a hysterectomy; the plaintiff was unable to bear children for the rest of her life
- December 13, 2002 – $225,000 settlement; a 49-year-old male was shot in the face in a street robbery; a femoral IV was inserted, and the plaintiff alleged that the IV remained too long and caused permanent swelling of the leg which limited movement
- November 8, 2002 – $250,000 verdict; the 76-year-old male plaintiff complained about peripheral vision problems in one eye; the defendant recommend a "watch and wait" approach, which resulted in an undiagnosed pituitary tumor hemorrhaging in a later surgery; the plaintiff suffered from optic nerve damage and permanent blindness in both eyes
- November 6, 2002 – $899,000 verdict; the defendant neurosurgeon misplaced screws in the disk space of a 55-year-old female during an anterior cervical fusion, resulting in a change in voice tone and inflection and difficulty swallowing
- September 1, 2002 – $500,000 settlement; the 67-year-old female plaintiff alleged that the defendant radiologist failed to properly interpret her mammogram, which led to a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer resulting in a terminal prognosis and a mastectomy
- June 21, 2002 – $350,000 settlement; an 81-year-old female underwent gynecological surgery and sustained perforations to her uterus and rectum; she sustained permanent abdominal scarring, but there were no residual effects
- June 6, 2002 – $1,552,000 verdict; the 50-year-old female plaintiff alleged that the defendant surgeon removed too much breast tissue during biopsy, resulting in a deformed breast; the plaintiff claimed that the surgeon removed more breast tissue that what had been agreed upon
- April 1, 2002 – $950,000 settlement; wrongful death where the 49-year-old female decedent underwent a coronary angiography; the defendant cardiologist perforated her aorta during the surgery, resulting in hemorrhaging and cardiopulmonary arrest; she died of brain damage
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- Washington D.C. Personal Injury/Malpractice Cases (general information about D.C.)
- Value of Personal Injury Cases in Washington D.C. (median values in Metro area)
- Wrongful Death Settlements and Verdicts in Washington D.C. (median values)
- Value of Medical Malpractice Cases in Washington D.C. (malpractice cases)
- 2009 District of Columbia Medical Malpractice Statistics (details on the malpractice trials in Washington D.C. that have gone to trial this year)
- Contact us or call 1-800-553-8082
Please note: The above is an extremely unscientific sampling of medical malpractice verdicts and settlements. We pull settlements and verdicts on this website from a variety of sources, including our own cases. There is no methodology to which cases are selected, and they are certainly not representative of the value of your case or your client's case. Each medical malpractice case in the District of Columbia should be evaluated on its own merits.