This page is about brain injury medical malpractice lawsuits that do not involve birth injuries.
Brain injuries are considered medical emergencies and extremely serious, therefore need to be treated immediately. There are two general types of brain injuries – those due to traumatic injury and those due to medical malpractice.
Types of brain injuries that arise due to medical malpractice come from various sources, including birth injuries, anesthesia complications, surgical errors, medication errors, inadequate perfusion during coronary artery bypass surgery, compression of the trachea, and failure to monitor/treat hypotension.
Our law firm handles these cases. If you or a loved one has been harmed or killed from a brain injury caused by medical malpractice, call our attorneys today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation. Learn whether you can sue and receive money damages in a lawsuit or settlement for the harm done.
What Happens with a Brain Injury
The brain needs a constant flow of oxygen. Because the lungs transfer oxygen from inhaled air into the bloodstream, the loss or impairment of ventilation causes inadequate oxygen in the patient’s bloodstream. Because the blood delivers oxygen to the brain, insufficient oxygen levels in the bloodstream cause inadequate oxygen levels in the brain and damage to other vital organs.
A lack of oxygen supply to the brain causes serious cognitive, physical, and psychological impairments. Brain cells begin to die within just five minutes of the oxygen supply being cut off. The longer the brain goes without oxygen, the more serious the consequences that can occur, such as coma, seizures, and brain death.
This is why brain injuries need to be treated as quickly as possible. The longer a person goes with oxygen deprivation to their brain, the higher their chances of brain death and severe brain injury are.
Things Happen Quickly
Medical malpractice lawsuits from brain injuries are frequent because there is little margin for error. The brain is extremely to decreased oxygen levels. A total lack of oxygen to the brain can cause injury in as little as three minutes. Brain cells begin to misfire as the oxygen level falls in the blood. These cells misfire because they are starved for a vital substrate for running all cellular functions. As the deprivation continues, they begin to die. Soon, the loss of brain function becomes irreversible.
When brain cells continue to die, the blood vessels supplying blood to those cells begin to leak out fluid that causes swelling. This starts a vicious cycle. The swelling causes further brain cell death. Eventually, as cell death occurs in the brain’s respiratory center, the patient’s respirations begin to slow and finally stop.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
In most brain injury malpractice lawsuits our lawyers see, the fact that the victim has a brain injury are obvious. There is no search for symptoms. But there are more subtle cases where you need to look for symptoms of brain injury due to a lack of oxygen because you want to treat a brain injury as soon as possible. These symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Difficulty with words
- Learning disabilities
- Visual impairments/disturbances
- Disorientation as to time/place/person
- Lack of coordination
- Spasticity, rigidity, and myoclonus – disorders including jerky motions & trembling
- Arm and leg weakness
Many brain injuries from medical malpractice occur while the patient is sedated. So there are no noticeable symptoms other than the patient’s vital signs.
Maryland Brain Injury Settlements and Verdicts
If treated immediately, a brain injury has less chance of causing severe, permanent injury. However, the trick is to notice, diagnose, and treat the problem causing oxygen deprivation as quickly as possible. The longer the patient is left with a brain not receiving oxygen, the higher the chances of irreversible damage.
Below are some examples of sample verdicts and settlements in recent brain injury malpractice cases. Keep in mind that each case is different, and the exact outcomes of each case vary due to specific facts and circumstances.
- 2022, Montgomery County: $14,200,000 Verdict: An 11-month-old infant suffered a mild brain injury from a subdural hematoma, tragically leading to paraplegia. The child’s brain injury attorney brought a lawsuit against several physicians who were caring for the infant. They alleged that the doctors failed to diagnose the head injuries accurately and in a timely manner. The allegations extended to the assertion that the physicians did not sufficiently investigate if the symptoms exhibited by the child were indicative of child abuse. Their medical experts testified that additional harm inflicted on the child could have been avoided if the physicians had opted to conduct a CAT scan in response to the initial symptoms.
- 2020, Baltimore City: $5,800,000 Verdict: A woman needed a heart valve replacement operation. The procedure occurred at a facility run by the University of Maryland Medical System. Three days after the surgery, the woman suffered cardiac arrest and a severe brain injury, living for only six days before succumbing to her complications. The woman’s adult children pursued a wrongful lawsuit, claiming that the hospital’s staff was negligent in their failure to diagnose and treat a known complication of the procedure. The complication was cardiac tamponade, a common subject of malpractice lawsuits, where fluid accumulates around the heart. Moreover, despite having medical personnel present, the necessary specialists were not summoned quickly enough to save her.
- 2017, Baltimore County $18.6 Million Verdict: An Abingdon man went to Franklin Square Hospital with severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed with an inflamed pancreas. He was administered anti-clotting medication for two days. On the third day, one doctor took him off the medication. But the doctor but failed to inform the attending physician about this change. The medication was eventually resumed. But by then a clot had formed in his leg. While walking in the hospital, he suffered a heart attack which caused the clot to travel to his lungs and eventually up to his brain. It took doctors more than 20 minutes to arrive and revive him, during which time the clot reached his brain. He was in the hospital for two months and in rehabilitation for 18 months. The 31-year-old father of two young children now resides in a residential group home an hour-and-half away from his parents’ residence in Harford County. He is left with severe cognitive and physical disabilities, likened to those of a toddler, and is confined to a wheelchair. A Baltimore County jury awarded Monroe $18.6 million, including $15.6 million in economic damages, reduced to $16.3 million due to the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical negligence lawsuits.
- 2013, Prince George’s County: $9,500,000 Verdict: A two-week-old female is seen in the ER, and the nurse fails to report her abnormal blood culture results to the physician on duty or send them to her primary care provider. The infant then develops left hemiplegic cerebral palsy, a brain injury associated with mental retardation with speech deficits, and a seizure disorder due to the delay in diagnosing her sepsis and meningitis. A jury agrees and awards $9,500,000.
- 2013: Anne Arundel County: $5,026,287 Verdict: An 11-month-old boy sustained a mild brain injury from a subdural hematoma, resulting in paraplegia. The boy’s legal representatives claimed that the physicians failed to diagnose his head injuries promptly and accurately, neglected to investigate if the symptoms were indicative of child abuse, and further harm from an unidentified party could have been circumvented had a CAT scan been taken.
- 2013, Anne Arundel County: $8,344,514 Verdict: A 42-year-old female is undergoing endoscopy and colonoscopy. She goes into respiratory and cardiorespiratory arrest due to her colon rupturing, and she develops cerebral hypoxic-ischemic and a severe anoxic brain injury, resulting in her death two weeks later. The jury finds the doctor in breach of the standard of care, and the proximate cause of her death, resulting in a jury payout of $8,344,514.
- 2012, Baltimore City: $21,000,000 Verdict: A woman is giving birth to her daughter at Harbor Hospital when the doctor fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill during the birth. As a result, the baby suffers spastic cerebral palsy, reduced cognitive and mental capabilities, hypoxia, and other conditions. The plaintiff argues that the doctor failed to recognize and treat the child and mother’s serious conditions, which led to the severity of the child’s status. The defendant attempts to argue that they applied the applicable standard of care. But the jury agrees with the plaintiff, awarding $21,000,000.
- 2002, Anne Arundel County: $1,916,328 Verdict: A woman experienced a lack of oxygen, leading to brain injury after she sought medical attention at the emergency room at North Arundel Medical Center (now Baltimore Washington Medical Center) with symptoms of cardiac arrest. She hired a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer who file a lawsuit that alleged that the defendants did not correctly diagnose and manage her heart attack, did not examine her promptly, discharged her irresponsibly before her condition stabilized, and did not deliver appropriate standard care.
- 2001, Prince George’s County: $402,505 Verdict: A man experienced a stroke leading to a mild brain injury during physician treatment. He filed a brain injury lawsuit claiming the defendants failed to accurately diagnose his condition. Specifically, they should have seen symptoms suggestive of a developing stroke. The suit argued that they should have referred him to a neurologist or a hospital
Why are there so few examples of brain injury malpractice settlements and verdicts in Maryland? These cases generally settle. Our firm has settled tens of millions of dollars of brain injury malpractice cases with confidentiality settlement language so tight that we would not tell our families about the settlement amounts.
Verdicts and Settlement Outside of Maryland
- 2023, Washington $11,000,000 Settlement: A delay in diagnosing bacterial meningitis that led to proliferation of the infection, seizure, and a brain injury. The brain injury has caused permanent seizures and partial blindness and left the plaintiff permanently disabled and requiring long-term medical care and therapy.
- 2022, Oregon $232,500 Verdict: The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury with cognitive loss including memory issues, problems focusing, fatigue, chronic ear pain, behavioral and personality changes, and visual processing problems. The injury was caused by a medication error in which the plaintiff received a paralytic instead of a anesthetic during an endoscopy procedure.
- 2020, Washington $100,000 Verdict: The plaintiff, a 60-year-old salesman, suffered a significant brain injury when his head struck the window of his car during a collision that was caused by the defendant. The injury allegedly left the plaintiff with short-term memory problems, executive functioning, nausea, and post-traumatic headaches.
- 2016, Oregon: $3,720,000 Verdict: A 38-year-old female teacher collapses at home one day while walking down the stairs. She is transported to the hospital with a suspected stroke. At the ER, more tests and a CT are conducted. But the CT misses a clot in the middle cerebral artery. The doctor admits her to the hospital with a likely psychiatric stress response when he learns that the patient just discovered that her grandmother’s cancer may be terminal. No neurologist is called, even though the plaintiff cannot walk or talk clearly. The clot sits in her brain for over eight hours, resulting in permanent brain injury.
- 2016, California: $20,000,000 Settlement: A minor child is under the care of nurses when they fail to adequately monitor her feeding tube, which results in brain damage. The matter resolves with a confidential settlement before trial.
- 2016, Washington: $2,350,000 Settlement: A 42-year-old male is employed as a mechanic and is prescribed Coumadin after being diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis. He misses his follow-up appointments after starting the medication. But the doctor still refills the prescriptions. He finally comes in for monitoring, and his INR is measured at 4.9 when the goal is between 2 and 3. This means he is at increased risk of bleeding. The doctor reduces dosing. Four days later, he suffers a massive brain bleed resulting in paralysis. He files suit, claiming his Coumadin should have been discontinued. The case settles for $2,350,000.
- 2016, Alabama: $10,000,000 Verdict: A 3-month-old infant is brought to the hospital with a fever and other symptoms that could be indicative of a bacterial infection. The physicians observe him but do not perform tests to rule out an infection. He is discharged without antibiotics. The next day he is brought back as his symptoms are worsening. This time, he is admitted; however, once again, no testing is done. Two days later, he is discharged without antibiotics. Once again, the next day, he goes to his family practitioner, who immediately performs a lumbar puncture, confirming bacterial meningitis. Due to the hospital staff’s negligence in diagnosing and treating his infection, he suffers permanent brain injuries, hearing loss, visual impairments, hydrocephalus, and a seizure disorder. After a jury trial that lasted five weeks, the plaintiff was awarded $10,000,000.
- 2016, Massachusetts: $6,250,000 Settlement: A female is pregnant with her second child and presents to the hospital about a month before her due date with a membrane rupture with clear fluid. After twelve hours, she is placed on fetal monitoring and is told that she is doing well even though she claims that the monitoring showed an increase in the baby’s heart rate. The doctors finally become worried about the fetal monitoring about an hour later but do not take any steps. The baby is delivered and has immediate respiratory issues and requires immediate intubation. He sustains a global brain injury, leaving him unable to speak or walk without assistance. The plaintiffs claim that the doctors were negligent when they did not perform resuscitative measures and immediately deliver the infant when distress signs began showing. The parties settled for $6,250,000 in a confidential settlement before jury selection.
- 2015, Kentucky: $18,270,052 Verdict: Plaintiff’s mom arrives at the hospital to have her labor induced after having a normal pregnancy without complications. She is administered Pitocin, and the doctor instructs that she should not exceed four contractions within an hour. The doctor leaves, and the nursing staff allows the contractions to exceed the maximum of four for six hours, which hinders her ability to push. As a result, the baby is deprived of oxygen and stuck in the birth canal for some time. The infant suffers a hypoxic brain injury as a result, as well as cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. A suit is brought against the doctors, alleging negligence in failing to deliver the infant timely and failing to comply with the standing orders regarding the labor. A jury agrees, awarding $18,270,052.
- 2015, Washington: $900,000 Settlement: A 65-year-old male goes to the ER with chest pain and fever. His blood is drawn, it is positive for strep growth, and he is given Levaquin. The report is sent to his primary care provider, who does not follow up with him. The man returns to the ER two weeks later due to back pain without injury and is given Prednisone. Three days later, he returns to his primary care provider as his back pain is increasing, and he is given Vicodin. He goes back again several days later as it is still increasing. A few weeks later, he goes to the ER with weakness, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, and back pain. He is diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatic and returns to his primary care provider twice within a few days for his back pain. His primary care provider consults with another doctor, who says his artificial heart valve may be infected. His doctor who received the strep blood cultures, admits him to the ER with a presumptive diagnosis of bacterial endocarditis, and he suffers a stroke a few weeks later. The stroke results from an embolic event due to the valve infection breaking off. As a result, this man suffers brain damage, which leaves him with many problems, including difficulties swallowing, memory loss, depression, a limp, vision problems, and many others. The case settles for $900,000 before trial.
- 2015, Oregon: $12,195,500 Verdict: A 51-year-old male has aortic valve replacement surgery at the hospital. The surgeon orders 150 mg of Amiodarone, which is the standard dose. However, the anesthesiologist administers 2,700 mg. This results in an anoxic brain injury due to the overdose, leaving the man unable to work or walk independently, requiring 24/7 care. A jury awards him $12,195,500.
- 2015, Massachusetts:$5,750,000 Settlement: A 35-year-old male completed a bone marrow transplant and is being discharged when his central venous catheter is removed. The resident doctor deviates from the standard of care by not having the man lay supine to remove. The plaintiff becomes unresponsive and goes into cardiac arrest, resulting in a bilateral anoxic brain injury. He files a claim against the hospital, alleging that the standard of care for removing the catheter was for the patient to lay supine to reduce the opportunity for an air embolus. He suffers from permanent physical impairment, cognitive deficits and cannot work. The parties settle for $5,750,000 in a “confidential” settlement agreement.
- 2015, Illinois: $9,400,000 Verdict: A 46-year-old female has gastric bypass surgery performed. She was given two blood thinners before surgery, one of which stays in the system for 17-21 hours. Her brain is deprived of oxygen for more than ten minutes, which causes permanent brain damage. She brings a suit, claiming that the doctors were negligent in failing to understand the effects of her use of one of the prescriptions, as they didn’t wait until she was not at high risk for bleeding before proceeding. The doctors try to argue that she wasn’t injured to the full extent she claims and that post-surgical bleeding is common after bariatric surgery. The parties settle for $9,400,000 before trial.
- 2015, New York:$850,000 Settlement: A minor child undergoes an endoscopic ventriculostomy procedure. During this, the endoscopic arm fails, the doctor loses control, and the arm perforates the cerebral floor of the child’s brain. This causes hemorrhaging and brain damage. The child’s parents filed suit, alleging that the hospital failed to use reasonable care and departed from accepted practices when negligently performing the procedure. The parties settle for $850,000.
- 2014, Florida: $620,000 Verdict: A female patient receives a prescription for Methotrexate, six pills to be taken every Wednesday. However, the pharmacy labels the bottle “to be taken six pills per day.” The woman listens to the instructions on the label for five days, as the supply was exhausted then. She returns to her doctor, who discovers the pharmaceutical error and admits the patient to the hospital for detoxification. The overdose results in neurological damage to the brain as well as memory loss. A jury awards her $620,000.
Getting a Lawyer for Your Malpractice Claim
If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury due to a medical mistake, we can help you. Miller & Zois has a history of success in getting large verdicts and settlements in brain injury cases for our clients.
We are here to help you get the money you are entitled to for the pain you have suffered. Call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free, no-obligation online case review.
More Malpractice Claim Information
- What is the settlement and trial value of medical malpractice claims in the Baltimore-Washington area?
- The same issue from a different angle: neurological injuries from malpractice
- CSF leak cases: brain injuries during spinal surgery
- CALL 410-779-4600 or get a free online Maryland nursing home claim evaluation