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Medical Malpractice Verdict Upheld by Washington D.C. Court of Appeals

In a recent medical malpractice case, the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals – D.C.'s highest court – upheld a $6.5 million dollar verdict. The $6.5 million dollar judgment was originally awarded to a victim who had sued a physician for his failure to provide adequate prenatal care at a public medical clinic. According to the victim's claim, the physician's failures directly resulted in the premature birth and permanent severe disability of her son.

When appealing the case, the physician had argued that the trial court in the original litigation committed a series of five critical errors. The physician claimed that the court:

  1. Should have barred the woman's negligence claim by the equitable defense of laches – a legal concept similar to a statute of limitations;
  2. Should not have permitted the jury to infer that the physician never saw a lap report;
  3. Should not have allowed the plaintiff to present a new theory of the physician's negligence mid-trial;
  4. Should not have instructed the jury that the physician was held to a heightened duty of care; and
  5. Should have granted the physician's motion for a new trial due to the errors committed by the court.

Ultimately, however, the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the original judgment. In particular, the court rejected the laches defense, arguing that although the plaintiff waited to file her claim, she was still within the applicable statute of limitations and that the statute of limitations will control. By shooting down the laches defense, the court set a standard that favors medical malpractice victims and ensured that they have access to the legal avenues needed to hold negligent healthcare providers responsible for their misconduct and liable for the damages they caused. If you, a loved one, or someone you care about has suffered damages at the hands of a medical professional or healthcare provider, place your trust in the hands of an experienced Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorney from the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates.