April 15, 2003
A directed verdict exonerated a Carroll County internist after he failed to diagnose a fatal pulmonary emboli. Just an hour after the faulty diagnosis of anemia, gas, and anxiety, while being wheeled out of the hospital, the patient died. The Plaintiff criticized the physician’s failure to notice the embolism, deeming the doctor’s cursory examination inadequate and figuring that with proper notice, the condition would have been treatable. The defense argued that (1) the patient’s presentation was consistent with the diagnosis, and (2) regardless of the care received, the end result would have been the same. When the Plaintiff’s expert was pressed on this second point during cross-examination, he conceded that causation was not a reasonable matter of contention, and the defense thus won a directed verdict.