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Please join Bekman Marder & Adkins in congratulating partners Dale Adkins and Emily Malarkey, who recently obtained a $575,000 verdict on behalf of the family of Jane Burkart, who died in 2012 of complications of a massive internal hemorrhage.

75-year old Jane Burkhart had recently been admitted to the hospital for a deep vein thrombosis and was prescribed several different blood thinners. A few days after her discharge, she presented to the E.R. at Carroll Hospital Center by ambulance in the middle of the night, complaining of severe, 10/10 hip and groin pain. She is described in the medical record to have been moaning in pain and to have “uncontrolled” pain despite multiple doses of narcotic pain medication. She was assessed by a physician assistant, who diagnosed her with musculoskeletal pain without performing any imaging study. She was discharged to a nursing home by a physician 10 hours after she arrived. Eighteen hours later, she was back in the E.R. in hemorrhagic shock from a massive retroperitoneal hematoma. She was resuscitated, but never fully recovered, and died 6 weeks later.

The trial lasted 6 days and the jury deliberated for 9 hours over the course of two days. There was no offer of settlement at any time.

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A Fairfax County, Virginia jury recently awarded half a million dollars to a Reston, Virginia man who was the victim of “trash talking” by his doctors while he was sedated for a colonoscopy procedure.  According to an article in the Washington Post, the man’s cell phone recorded the entire procedure.  The recording, which was admitted into evidence and played for the jury, proved that the anesthesiologist and gastroenterologist who attended to the man during the procedure ridiculed him, falsified his medical records, and asked the medical assistant to interact with him after the procedure so they did not have to.

Although the man was not physically hurt, according to a juror interviewed by the Post, the jury’s verdict was fueled by a desire to “to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”  This sentiment is echoed by almost every single client who calls our office wanting to know whether they have a medical malpractice case.  Making sure other patients are not hurt (or heartlessly ridiculed), i.e, making the world a safer place, is one of the primary goals of the tort system.

Maybe it is not surprising to hear that perhaps the second most frequent sentiment echoed by our clients is frustration with physicians who just plain treat them poorly or do not listen to them.  The Virginia case is interesting because ordinarily a person must be physically hurt in order to claim damages for medical malpractice; mere unprofessionalism is not enough.  But time and again it has been shown that doctors who simply talk to their patients and treat them with respect are less likely to be sued, even when a patient experiences a bad result. Indeed, we often are instructed by our clients not to sue doctors our clients “like,” even though we believe they may have been negligent.

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Today, on behalf of over 750 victims and family members, SCBMA filed a lawsuit against The Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, alleging that they were the primary driving force behind illegal and immoral human experiments in which vulnerable populations of Guatemalans were deceived, and intentionally exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases without treatment in the 1940s and 1950s.

The experiments targeted school children, orphans, psychiatric hospital patients, prison inmates and military conscripts.  In 2010, the Obama Administration apologized to Guatemala for the experiments and created a Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to investigate them.

The Presidential Commission issued its findings in September 2011 along with a Study Guide.  There has also been considerable research and scholarship about the circumstances which led to the human experimentation, such as this article by Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., M. Bioethics, and Paul Lombardo, Ph.D, J.D., who are, respectively, the Associate Director and a Senior Advisor to the Presidential Commission.

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Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC proudly acknowledges that 8 of its attorneys Super Lawyershave been named to the 2015 Maryland Super Lawyers or Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars lists.  Dale Adkins, Paul Bekman, Daniel Clements, Laurence Marder, Stuart Salsbury, Wendy Shiff, and Ryan Perlin have been named to the 2015 Maryland Super Lawyers list and Emily Malarkey has been recognized on the 2015 Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars list.

With its 2015 edition published on December 10, 2015, the 2015 Super Lawyers Magazine uses a patented multi-phase selection process to create its lawyer-ratings and lists.  The process includes peer nominations from other attorneys as well as third-party research across 12 categories conducted by an attorney-led research team.  The end result is a Super Lawyers list that only includes up to 5 percent of the lawyers in a state and a Rising Stars list with no more than 2.5 percent of eligible lawyers.

Our firm is also proud to acknowledge Paul Bekman’s inclusion on the Super Lawyers “Top 10” list and Stuart Salsbury’s inclusion on the “Top 100 list.”  These lists recognize the “best of the best” and SCBMA is proud of its representation on the list.

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Maryland’s Court of Appeals recently ruled that a trial court judge did not abuse his discretion in excluding the standard of care testimony of a plaintiff’s expert pharmacist in an informed consent case involving the cancer treatment drug Amifostine.  The Court of Appeals majority opinion in Shannon v. Fusco overturned a previous ruling by Maryland’s intermediate appellate court that held the pharmacist’s testimony should have been admitted.

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