Our hospital malpractice lawyers handle negligence and malpractice claims against hospitals nationwide. Our attorneys are based in Maryland, but we handle medical negligence lawsuits against hospitals nationwide. We trust these facilities to provide adequate care when we go to the emergency room, undergoing surgery, or recovering from an illness.
Miller & Zois fights to bring justice for medical malpractice victims and families.
Too often, mistakes are made that cause severe injury or death. When this happens to our clients, our attorneys sue the hospital.
Our law firm has recovered millions of dollars in medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals in the Baltimore – Washington area. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice or have lost a loved one, you can get a no-obligation online consultation with one of our attorneys, who will respond immediately.
Maryland Hospitals’ Obligation to Us
Patient care cannot be expected to be perfect. There is no question that there can be a bumpy ride at even the best of hospitals. However, there are minimal standards of care that every hospital must meet. If they breach that obligation, and someone is hurt or killed, they have a duty to compensate the victims.
Hospitals must meet these standards of care and adhere to specific policies and procedures to ensure the health and well-being of their patients. Hospitals have to ensure that the doctors who practice under their umbrella are licensed and otherwise qualified.
How often does this happen in a hospital setting? Far too often. A Harvard study conducted on medical negligence looked at hospital records of over 30,000 patients. The study found that 1 out of every 100 patients admitted to a hospital had a potential medical malpractice claim.
Remember, most of these cases are presenting pretty simple medical issues. Can you imagine what the data would show if you weeded out those cases? Sure, some patients suffered only minor injuries, but a stunning 14% of the time, the malpractice resulted in death, and 10% of the time, the incident led to hospitalization for more than six months. Seven of those ten people suffered a permanent disability.
The take-home message: medical malpractice happens way too often in Maryland hospitals.
Why It Sometimes Makes More Sense to Sue a Hospital Than a Doctor
From a practical standpoint, it is worth noting that a medical malpractice fight is easier against a hospital or a non-doctor healthcare provider (such as nurses, technicians, etc.) than against a doctor.
Why? Because juries in Maryland believe that non-doctor healthcare providers are more likely to make an error and cause a severe injury than doctors. Moreover, it is easier for a jury to blame the hospital than an individual doctor. Why? Because juries – for better and for worse – often see doctors as infallible.
This is less of a problem when suing a medical institution. Hospitals also realize their brand is not advanced when the Baltimore Sun reports that their hospital has been hit with a $10 million malpractice verdict. Insurance companies worry little about their doctors’ reputations as a result of a malpractice verdict. But risk managers at hospitals always keep this in mind.
One final consideration: doctors are sometimes reluctant to settle because their medical malpractice rates will
rise. Doctors do not necessarily have veto power to decide whether a case settles. But many malpractice carriers, including doctor-owned Medical Mutual, which has most of the market share in Maryland, give their doctors a lot of latitude in deciding whether to make a settlement offer.
Setting Up a Hospital Malpractice Claim
At Miller & Zois, we understand how to find out what happened, not just what it says in the medical records. Our lawyers challenge hospitals to explain why the hospital did what it did. We identify violations of the hospital’s policy and regulations (or what should have been the hospital’s policy or procedure).
The law governing the standard for determining the negligence of hospitals was first articulated by Maryland’s high court over 40 years ago. Today, the rule is articulated in the Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions. Instruction Section 27:5 states: “A hospital is negligent if it does not use that degree of care and skill that a reasonably competent hospital, acting in similar circumstances, would use.”
Our lawyers also inquire about the hospital’s duty to review the qualifications of their doctors to ensure that only qualified physicians practice within the hospital’s walls (negligent credentialing).
Mistakes Happen Everywhere
In Maryland, we are blessed to have two hospitals among the best in the world right in Baltimore: Johns Hopkins and the University Hospital (University of Maryland). But even at these great hospitals, mistakes are made. Sometimes, good hospitals have bad doctors, and sometimes good doctors make bad mistakes. If we make mistakes, we should be held accountable, even if they hurt someone else. In that respect, hospitals are just like all of us.
What is the Average Settlement for a Hospital Malpractice Case?
The average settlement in a hospital malpractice lawsuit in the U.S. is around $425,000. The median value of a hospital malpractice settlement is $300,000. The average jury verdict in a hospital malpractice case is over $1 million. The average settlement value for a hospital malpractice case in Maryland (particularly in Baltimore) is significantly higher than the national average.
What Are the Chances of Winning A Hospital Malpractice Suit?
About three out of every four plaintiffs who file a medical malpractice case end up getting money in the form of a settlement or verdict. The odds when suing a hospital for negligence are somewhat higher. This is because hospitals are much more inclined to settle valid medical malpractice cases compared to individual doctors.
Unlike doctors, hospitals do not get the benefit of jury sympathy, and they prefer to avoid the bad publicity associated with large malpractice verdicts. This gives hospitals much stronger incentives to settle cases quickly.
Determining Hospital Malpractice Settlement Amounts
Sample Hospital Malpractice Settlement Amounts and Jury Payouts
Below is a list of examples of jury verdicts in Maryland having to deal with hospital mistakes. It is sometimes illustrative in determining the trial and the out-of-court settlement value of any civil case to see similar cases and review their outcomes.
There are limitations to doing this that are important to consider. A jury trial when suing a hospital for negligence has so many variables. It is hard to know from these summaries what turned the verdict.
Our law firm settled and won tens of millions at trial in verdicts and settlements against hospitals, mainly in Maryland but in other jurisdictions. Regrettably, the terms of the settlement agreements arguably prevent us from disclosing the details of the claims for many of these cases that were settled out-of-court.
- 2023, Illinois $32,700,000 Verdict: A man sought medical attention at an emergency room due to unexplained foot pain. Despite having a high-risk medical profile that made him susceptible to blood clots, two attending physicians did not promptly diagnose his condition. This oversight led to the tragic consequence of his foot’s amputation and other enduring complications. After enduring a trial that spanned over two weeks, the jury decided in the man’s favor, granting him $32.7 million for the physicians’ negligence for his past and future pain and suffering, emotional distress, and medical expenses.
- 2023, Maryland $13,300,000 Verdict: A woman was admitted to Maryland hospital to induce labor. While she had elevated blood pressure, initial signs didn’t indicate any distress. To aid in inducing contractions, she was administered Pitocin. However, after laboring for over 17 hours with the assistance of the drug, troubling readings from the fetal heart monitor were observed. The lawsuit centered on the claim that the medical center’s staff should have recognized these signs of fetal distress, largely exacerbated by the prolonged use of Pitocin, and should have performed a cesarean section sooner. The delay caused the baby to suffer brain injuries during birth, including intracranial bleeding, which led to lifelong brain damage and intellectual disability. The trial underscored negligence on the parts of both the attending physician and the nursing staff in the administration and monitoring of Pitocin, and in their overall management of the labor. Currently, the hospital’s overseeing entity is weighing the option of an appeal.
- 2023, Pennsylvania $2,000,000 settlement: The patient came under the care of the defendant Thomas Jefferson Hospital and reportedly manifested signs and symptoms of a life-threatening mental health condition that required immediate behavioral evaluation, but instead, the defendant failed to ensure he was immediately admitted to a hospital or other appropriate facility for immediate psychiatric evaluation and treatment, amounting to a deviation in the standard of care. The patient ended up killing himself two weeks later.
- 2023 Arkansas $3,000,000 verdict: A 45-year-old male was admitted to the defendant Baptist Health d/b/a Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock for treatment following a stroke. During his time in the hospital, he developed a pressure sore on his butt that eventually developed into a deep tissue wound and sepsis infection, which caused death. The plaintiff hired a hospital malpractice lawyer to file a wrongful death lawsuit that accused the hospital of negligence in allowing the pressure sore to develop and cause death.
- 2022 Indiana $1,250,000 verdict: A 51-year-old patient reportedly was taken to defendant Methodist Hospital, administered fluids and medication to address nausea and vomiting. An IV was placed in his right foot, and hospital staff ignored complaints of pain and signs that the IV was not correctly placed. Eventually, he developed gangrene infection in the foot and had to be amputated.
- 2021, New York $13,500,943 settlement: A newborn suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and other traumatic brain injuries. He developed spastic quadriplegia, hypotonia, and global developmental impairments. The family’s birth injury lawsuit alleged negligence against Montefiore Medical Center. They claimed its staff failed to provide appropriate care, appreciate fetal distress signs, and timely perform a C-section. This case settled before trial for $13,500,943.
- 2020, Pennsylvania $1,000,000 settlement: A 73-year-old man with septic arthritis symptoms around his prosthetic knee was admitted to Einstein Medical Center. Ten hours later, he died from septic shock caused by a group A strep infection. The man’s family hired a hospital malpractice lawyer and alleged negligence against Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. Their lawsuit claimed the man died because of an undiagnosed infection because its staff failed to timely administer antibiotics, perform an arthrocentesis, and diagnose sepsis. This case settled for $1,000,000.
- 2020, Maryland, Baltimore City, $5,872,150 verdict: A 75-year-old woman underwent an aortic valve replacement at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Nine days later, she died from cardiac tamponade. Her family alleged hired a Maryland hospital malpractice attorney who filed a lawsuit alleging negligence against the University of Maryland Medical System. The suit claimed its staff failed to recognize cardiac tamponade signs, provide appropriate post-surgical care, and timely resuscitate her. The Baltimore City jury awarded the family $5,872,150.
- 2019, Maryland, Baltimore City, $850,000 verdict: A 23-week-old newborn underwent a blood transfusion at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s NICU. The nurse inserted an IV line into her left arm. However, she inserted it into the girl’s brachial artery instead of her vein. This caused swelling and blood pressure changes that resulted in necrosis. The girl had all her left fingers amputated. Her parents alleged negligence against the University of Maryland Medical System. They claimed its staff wrongly placed the IV line, improperly monitored the girl’s status, failed to recognize vascular insufficiency signs, and failed to replace the IV line. The Baltimore City jury awarded the family $850,000.
- 2019, California $517,546 verdict: The plaintiff underwent a splenic artery embolization procedure to repair a splenic artery aneurysm under a vascular surgeon’s care. The surgeon used fast-hardening glue during the procedure to thrombose the artery completely. However, the defendant caused the fast-hardening glue to extrude into the splenic artery, refluxing proximally into the splenic artery and the right and left branches of the hepatic artery. This caused the claimant to suffer acute necrotizing pancreatitis. She was hospitalized for approximately 28 days. Following her discharge, she was seen in the emergency department on multiple occasions over the next ten months with episodes of severe abdominal pain. Eventually, the claimant underwent a stent placement to drain a formed pseudocyst. The plaintiff filed a claim seeking an arbitration award in her favor for pain and suffering due to the defendant’s negligence. She also sought damages for past and future lost earnings, as well as for future care needs. The plaintiff was rewarded $517,546 for the damages.
- 2017 Maryland, Baltimore County, $4,240,000 verdict: A man sued his doctor after a post-operative event left him paralyzed. The plaintiff was under post-operative care at a Baltimore-area hospital recovering from spinal surgery. The plaintiff suffered from a hypotensive event resulting in a spinal cord stroke. As a result of the stroke, the plaintiff was left paralyzed from the chest down. In suing the hospital for negligence, the plaintiff accused the defendant and his company of medical malpractice. The defendant was accused of breaching the standard of care by undertaking the plaintiff’s post-operative care without the assistance of a hospitalist and restarting his pre-surgical antihypertension medications. The plaintiff sought compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering damages. The defendant denied negligence. The jury believed the defendant was negligent in their treatment and that the treatment was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury, rewarding him with $4,240,000.
- 2017 Maryland, Baltimore County, $2,000,000 verdict: The pregnant plaintiff was admitted to the hospital a day before her water broke prematurely. While the plaintiff was only 33 weeks pregnant at the time, her doctors believed she was more than 36 weeks pregnant. The child was ultimately born in the hospital; doctors confirmed the baby was only 33 weeks old. However, a delivery room doctor later called to inform the NICU staff that the baby was “mistakenly delivered prematurely.” As a result of her premature birth, the child was born with underdeveloped lungs and respiratory problems. She was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit, where she was later determined to have developed cerebral palsy due to her respiratory distress. The plaintiff argued that the defendants failed to inform her of steroids available to mature the baby’s lungs and that tests were available to confirm the baby’s lung maturity and gestational age. The plaintiff also brought evidence that an ultrasound was performed 12 days earlier, demonstrating that the child was premature. After deliberating for two hours, the jury awarded the plaintiff $2,000,000 in damages.
- 2017 Maryland, Baltimore County, $465,000 verdict: This case involves the plaintiff suing for wrongful death on behalf of her spouse. An adult male patient reportedly died from clear cell renal cell carcinoma after it metastasized to his lungs and bone while under the defendant’s care. The plaintiff, through his estate, contended that an employee of the defendant was operating below acceptable medical standards by failing to properly read, interpret, and report the findings of chest, abdomen, and pelvis CT scans and failing to report two masses on the decedent’s kidney which resulted in delayed diagnosis and treatment. The defendant denied liability and contended that the CT scan was read correctly, interpreted, and reported. The jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor and was rewarded with $465,000.
- 2017: Baltimore County, Maryland $500,000 Verdict: The plaintiff was hospitalized at St. Joseph Medical Center following surgery to treat his cancer. During that extended hospitalization, he develops Stage IV pressure sores that developed necrosis and required part of his buttocks tissue to be removed. He sued the hospital, alleging that the staff neglected to adequately monitor his skin and failed to follow guidelines for regularly repositioning him to avoid bed sores. St. Joe denied wrongdoing, insisting that his underlying health problems caused his pressure sores. The jury awarded a $500,000 payout.
- 2016, Maryland, Baltimore City: 10 Million Verdict. This Miller & Zois wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Maryland Medical Center ended in a $10 million verdict. A Baltimore pastor was given a dangerous drug without explaining the risks associated with that drug. The drug (Kayexalate) destroyed the man’s colon, causing his death. UMMS made no settlement offer in the case. The hospital appealed and lost.
- 2015, Maryland, Baltimore City: $3.8 Million Settlement. This Miller & Zois settlement against a Baltimore hospital is subject to a confidentiality agreement.
- 2015, West Virginia (Germantown Resident): $3.25 Million Settlement. This Miller & Zois settlement against a West Virginia hospital on behalf of a Maryland plaintiff is also, regrettably, subject to a confidentiality agreement.
- 2015, Anne Arundel County: $2,523,869 Verdict: A 19-year-old woman arrives at Anne Arundel Medical Center with severe back pain and numbness in her pelvis. She has three bulging discs and complains of more pain after running through an airport the week prior. A nurse notes the condition but does not perform any further testing. Doctors finally discover a ruptured disc two days later, which they then determine stemmed from cauda equina syndrome. By the time they realize the actual cause of the woman’s pain, she has suffered nerve damage. She sues the hospital, claiming that they were negligent by not administering the proper tests. A jury agrees, awarding the woman $2,2523,869.
- 2014, Maryland, Baltimore City: $5.2 Million Verdict. Our client is an armed security guard and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is injured when a gate is inadvertently activated while crossing it, hoisting him into the air, trapping him, and twisting his knee. He dislocates the knee and tears almost every ligament and tendon. He is seen in a Baltimore City emergency room and undergoes a series of X-rays. He is diagnosed with a knee sprain and is discharged. He returns two days later to the ER with no pulses in his foot, eventually resulting in an above-the-knee-amputation. He files suit against the physician’s assistant and ER doctor, claiming they breached the standard of care by failing to rule out a popliteal artery injury. Defendants claim the plaintiff is at fault for failing to provide them with an adequate history and further alleges he subsequently injured the knee after being discharged. The defense argument particularly did not sell with this jury, who clearly understood the plaintiff was a great and honest guy. We argued that if anyone had done a proper vascular assessment, he could have been revascularized, and the leg would have survived. A Baltimore City jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded Miller & Zois’ client $5.2 million. [More information on premature hospital discharge claims.]
- 2014, Maryland, Baltimore City: $1,700,000 Verdict: A pregnant woman complains of shortness of breath when she arrives at the University of Maryland Midtown Hospital. She is transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where an X-ray reveals what doctors think is pneumonia or a pulmonary embolism. Doctors induce labor the following day without suggesting a C-Section. During delivery, the child’s arm becomes lodged, leading the child to be diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy upon birth. The child’s mother hires a Baltimore hospital malpractice lawyer and sues the hospital. Her lawsuit alleges the doctors were negligent by not delivering the child by C-section. A Baltimore City jury awards the plaintiffs $1,700,000 in economic and pain and suffering damages.
- June 2013, Maryland: $620,000 Verdict: A 41-year-old employee of Baltimore City arrives at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMS) emergency room complaining of severe headaches. Upon arrival, the treating physician orders a spinal tap to evaluate any possible bleeding or injuries to the brain. After the spinal tap, the woman is released with no diagnosis and two pain pills. While at home, the woman climbs the stairs and suddenly begins to experience excruciating neck pain. She immediately returns for treatment. This time, she is diagnosed with cervical disc herniations. The damages result in the plaintiff receiving surgery a year later. The plaintiff files suit against UMMC, alleging that the disc herniations occurred when undue pressure was applied to her neck during the initial spinal tap, violating the standard of care. The defendant does not argue that according to the standard of care, the pressure should not be applied during a spinal tap but deny that such pressure was applied during the plaintiff’s spinal tap. They argue that the plaintiff did not complain of pain following the procedure. The jury found the hospital liable for the city worker’s injuries and awarded her $620,000.
- March 2013. Maryland: $750,000 Settlement: A 56-year-old man arrives at an emergency care facility complaining of chest pains. An EKG test shows abnormal ST depressions, and the treating physician instructs the man to report to the emergency room for emergency cardiac evaluation. The man reports to the hospital, presenting a copy of the EKG and a report of his initial complaints. The emergency room physician orders two additional EKGs. The doctor dismisses the man, informing him that the additional EKG results show a normal sinus rhythm with a septal-myocardial infarct. Three days after being released from the emergency room, the man suffers a fatal myocardial, leaving behind four children. The man’s family brings a wrongful death lawsuit for their pain and suffering, alleging the negligence of the emergency physician caused the man’s death. The plaintiff’s hospital malpractice attorney claims the standard of care required the doctor to not only admit the patient for observation and evaluation but also to seek a cardiology consult. The parties agree to settle for $750,000 before trial.
- January 2013, Maryland: $3,000,000 Settlement: A 21-year-old woman is pregnant at 27 weeks and is in severe distress. She arrives at an outpatient labor center of the hospital. After multiple tests, she is diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. The woman is stabilized and taken to surgery, where she is given an emergency C-section. The child is born in distress and requires resuscitation. She is transferred to a specialty hospital where she is treated for hemorrhagic and ischemic changes in the brain. Thankfully, the child is stabilized and transferred to a third facility for long-term treatment. The infant suffers from irreversible brain damage. She will never be able to walk, talk, or take care of herself and will remain ventilator-dependent. Plaintiffs’ hospital negligence lawyer sues the hospital, claiming the blood studies obtained at the time of birth showed the infant had not suffered significant brain injuries. Yet, blood work obtained 41 minutes after the birth showed severe acidosis. They allege the hospital failed to provide the child with timely treatment, thus violating the standards of care. The parties agree to resolve the claim and settle for $3,000,000.
- July 2012, Maryland: $21,000,000 Verdict: A woman at 31 weeks pregnant arrives at MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore with symptoms of high blood pressure. While in treatment, she is evaluated by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and connected to an electrical fetal heart rate monitor. The specialist instructs that should the mother and fetus remain stable, a vaginal examination delivery was possible, but should the status worsen, delivery must be via Cesarean section. The woman is kept overnight and is induced for labor the following morning. A few hours after they induce her, an obstetrician and gynecologist conduct a vaginal examination and note her cervix is four centimeters dilated. At that time, the fetal heart rate is reassuring with minimal variability. A few hours pass, and the heart rate drops. The physicians decide to perform a C-section. But, inexplicably, they wait 5 hours. Upon delivery, the infant’s neck is wrapped in his umbilical cord, and he appears pale and lifeless. While the child is fortunate enough to survive, he is ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The plaintiff’s experts indicate that while the heart monitoring strips were originally assuring, the later strips showed severe fetal distress. They claim these tests should have called for the obstetrician to demand an emergency C-section instead of allowing the labor to continue unnecessarily for three additional hours. Plaintiff’s expert in neonatology testifies the cord was strangling the baby, creating a lack of oxygen to the brain. The cord had to be surgically removed and had the physicians complied with the standards of care, there would be a 95-percent chance the child would have been born a healthy baby boy with little to no injuries. Defendants’ experts claimed brains deprived of oxygen give off an acid that shows in blood, which the child did not. They also stated that had the child suffered brain damage from asphyxia at birth; ultrasounds would have indicated brain swells. The jury found the MedStar Harbor Hospital and the treating physicians liable and awarded $21,000,000.
- April 2011, Maryland: $1,038,312 Verdict: An elderly woman with a history of aortic stenosis arrives at Johns Hopkins Hospital for aortic valve surgery. During the operation, the doctors find that her aortic root was small and low on the aorta. They replace the valve with preserved pig tissue and patched it with cow tissue. The surgery is completed, and the woman is discharged. Shortly after that, the opening to the coronary arteries blocks. The woman suffers heart failure. Her heart is re-arrested, and the aortic root has to be replaced. As if these complications were not difficult enough for the woman to handle, her liver and kidney begin to fail, and she is placed on a ventilator. Her condition worsens. She undergoes a tracheotomy and has a feeding tube inserted. After multiple procedures and complications, the woman, unfortunately, passes at the age of 67. The woman’s family brings a wrongful death lawsuit against Johns Hopkins for failing to follow the standard of care during her procedure. They allege the medical team failed to perform an aortic root replacement during the initial procedure. The jury finds in favor of the plaintiff and awards a verdict of $1,038,312 (the amount was later reduced to $912,998).
- More malpractice verdicts
Make no mistake about it: these hospital malpractice lawsuits are complicated and expensive. Hospitals just don’t admit their mistakes…. unless they’re forced to either in court or at the settlement table. But our lawyers have taken on this challenge many times and won.
Do you need our help? If you have been injured as the result of medical or hospital malpractice or negligence, call us at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free consultation.
Hospital Specific Malpractice
Emergency Room Malpractice
- Overview of ER Malpractice, which are a slightly different animal than a hospital malpractice claim
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
- Heart Injuries