Panzer v. Maryland General Hospital

Kathleen H Meredith

Practice Area:Medical Malpractice

Outcome:Plaintiff's verdict for $3,420,000.00

Description:Young otherwise healthy woman complained of headache, memory loss, and numbness in her hands. She was referred by her primary care physician to a neurologist who ordered an MRI. The MRI revealed an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). An AVM is an abnormal lesion in the brain which is susceptible to bleeding. When an AVM is identified, the standard of care requires further evaluation by way of urgent angiogram and follow up neurosurgery to eliminate the risk of brain bleeding and the associated risk of permanent and irreversible brain injury. Once an AVM has been diagnosed,the standard of care also mandates that patients be informed of the early warning signs of bleeding including a worsening headache, nausea, and vomiting. The standard of care further requires that a patient with a documented,but untreated AVM, receive emergency evaluation and treatment upon presentation of symptoms suggestive of bleeding. The patient in this case was not schduled for "urgent" angiogram, nor was she referred urgently to a neurosurgeon, nor was she advised of the early warning signs of a brain bleed and of the need for urgent treatment should such signs develop. Several weeks after diagnosis of the AVM, the patient developed nausea, vomiting and the worst headache of her life. She called her primary care physician who advised her to lay down and rest and go to the emergency room ony if her condition worsened. The patient did as she was instructed and died at home as a result of a massive brain bleed. The verdict was for $3,420,000.00 but was subsequently reduced on post trial motions due to Maryland's cap on non economic damages.