In a civil lawsuit, opposing parties are required to share some information related to their claims and defenses during the discovery process. If a dispute arises, the parties are expected to resolve the matter between themselves and turn to the court for intervention only as a last resort. A January 17, 2018 case before the Special Appeals Court demonstrates how these issues may come up in a Maryland medical malpractice claim.
The plaintiff in the case alleged that the defendants were negligent in performing an upper endoscopy procedure that was necessary to treat the decedent’s esophageal cancer. During the procedure, the decedent’s esophagus was perforated, which the doctor treated with a stent. Two weeks later, the doctor had to perform a second surgery to repair the perforation. In the six months following the surgeries, the decedent suffered from a variety of health problems. She had a preexisting history of chronic pancreatitis that worsened and required surgery on her pancreas. During her recovery from the pancreatic surgery, the decedent developed complications, including sepsis, and died six days later.
The plaintiff filed suit against the hospital, alleging that the doctor was negligent and breached the standard of care when he perforated the decedent’s esophagus and that this breach started the decline that ultimately caused her death seven months later. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed and challenged the trial court’s decision to admit the defendant’s expert witness and certain evidence into trial. Specifically, he argued that the defendant made an expert witness designation that was not complete and also failed to identify physical exhibits in a timely manner.