Court Affirms Verdict in Favor of Doctor After Child Experiences Developmental Delays

Prescription errors can have lasting effects for Maryland patients. In a recent case, the parents of a two-month-old child brought a lawsuit against a doctor, alleging that the doctor improperly treated their child with the drug Reglan.

According to the court’s opinion, the child was referred to the pediatric gastroenterologist doctor for gastrointestinal issues, and the doctor diagnosed him with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. The doctor continued to see the child for about a year and a half, and he prescribed him different medications, including Reglan. Reglan is normally recommended for a maximum of 12 weeks, except in cases in which the benefits outweigh the risks. The doctor later testified that he believed the benefits outweighed the risks in this case, and he attempted to wean the child off the drug, but his symptoms would reappear when he did so.

About a year and a half after his diagnosis, the child’s mother began noticing problems with the child’s development, including standing, balancing, and developmental delays. After she heard about the side effects of Reglan on a commercial, she brought up her concerns to the child’s primary care doctor. The gastroenterologist doctor subsequently told the primary care doctor to stop the Reglan prescription, due to the mother’s concerns.

The child’s parents then brought a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, alleging that the doctor breached the standard of care by treating the child with Reglan and causing him injuries. They claimed that the doctor should not have used Reglan, due to the child’s very young age and the drug’s potential serious side effects, and they asserted that the drug caused the child to develop a neuropsychiatric organic brain dysfunction.

At trial, the defendant’s expert witnesses testified that MRI images of the child’s brain at birth showed that he had an abnormal brain at birth. The plaintiffs then attempted to present testimony from an expert witness refuting their conclusions about the MRI images. However, the court prevented the witness from testifying because his opinion on that issue had not been disclosed before the trial. The jury ruled in favor of the doctor, and the plaintiffs appealed.

On appeal, the state’s supreme court explained that on the jury form, the jury found that the doctor was not negligent in prescribing the child Reglan and thus did not even get to the issue of causation. Since the rebuttal testimony concerned the issue of causation, even if he should have been allowed to testify, it did not contribute to the verdict. Therefore, the court affirmed the verdict in favor of the doctor.

Disclosure Requirements in Maryland

Under the Maryland rules of civil procedure, a party may require another party to identify each person who is expected to be called as an expert witness at trial. Additionally, the parties may be required to state the subject matter of the testimony, the findings and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify, and the basis of each opinion, as well as any written reports made by the expert concerning those findings and opinions.

Contact a Prescription Error Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, our Maryland attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of prescription errors, medical malpractice, and other negligent conduct. We can work closely with medical experts to evaluate your claim and aggressively pursue the compensation that you deserve. We do not recover any fees unless we obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor. Contact us at 800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Experts Hope a Bottle’s Label Design Can Decrease Prescription Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, January 2, 2018.

Court Finds Evidence Insufficient in Recent Pharmacy Error Case, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2017.

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