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Prince George’s Co. jury awards $2.46M in wrongful death case

8-9-17 BALTIMORE CITY, MD-Jonathan Cusson and Julia Arfaa in their office at the Arfaa Law Group.(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

8-9-17 BALTIMORE CITY, MD-Jonathan Cusson and Julia Arfaa in their office at the Arfaa Law Group.(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

A Prince George’s County jury on Tuesday awarded nearly $2.5 million to the family of a Bowie man who died less than a week after arriving at a hospital with what appeared to be high blood sugar.

The verdict in favor of Daniel Toussaint’s family and estate includes $1.8 million in future lost wages, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

Toussaint, 46, did not have any prior health conditions before going to the emergency room at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham on Jan. 1, 2013, after experiencing three days of increased thirst, frequent urination and weakness, according to the complaint.

He was diagnosed as diabetic, and steps were taken to reduce his rising sodium levels, according to the complaint, filed in June 2015 in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. But his fluid levels were not monitored closely to make sure they did not drop too much and caused brain swelling, according to the complaint. As a result, Toussaint showed signs of neurological decline, including an incident where the hospital almost called a “code green,” which is done when a patient is exhibiting dangerous and erratic behavior, according to Julia A. Arfaa of the Arfaa Law Group in Baltimore, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

“They obviously understood it and there was a significant neurological decline,” Arfaa said, referring to Toussaint’s caretakers.

By Jan. 6, five days after being admitted to the hospital, Toussaint was brain dead and transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he died that day, according to the lawsuit.

While multiple defendants, including Doctors Community Hospital, were named as defendants, the jury verdict was only against Dr. Enrique Samanez, who treated Toussaint from 7 p.m. Jan. 2 to 7 a.m. Jan. 3. Arfaa and colleague Jonathan A. Cusson argued during the six-day trial Samanez provided the instructions during his shift that were followed by the other medical personnel who looked after Toussaint at Doctors Community Hospital, Arfaa said.

The jury’s verdict was not entered against Doctors Community Hospital. G. Branch Taylor of Taylor & Uhl LLC in Chevy Chase, a lawyer for Samanez, did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the future lost wages, the jury awarded Keisha Toussaint, Toussaint’s widow and personal representative of his estate, $500,000 for loss of consortium, $150,000 for her husband’s pain and suffering and more than $9,000 for funeral expenses.

Jurors deliberated for six hours before returning with a verdict, Arfaa said.

“Mrs. Toussaint was very happy, very excited” by the verdict. “It was a long time coming and she obviously misses her husband very much.”

In addition to his wife, Daniel Toussaint is survived by two children from a previous marriage who live in New York.

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Toussaint v. Amare et al.

Court: Prince George’s County Circuit Court

Case No.: CAL 15-18272

Proceeding: Jury trial

Outcome: Verdict for plaintiffs for $2,459,304: $1,800,000 in future lost wages and loss of household services; $500,000 loss of affection, society and companionship for the widow of the deceased; $150,000 for conscious pain and suffering of the deceased; $9,304 for funeral expenses

Dates:

Incident: January 2013

Suit filed: June 5, 2015

Verdict: Aug. 8, 2017

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Julia A. Arfaa and Jonathan A. Cusson of the Arfaa Law Group in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorneys: G. Branch Taylor and Diane Uhl of Taylor & Uhl LLC in Chevy Chase for Dr. Enrique Samanez; Erica C. Mudd of Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhodes Chtd. in Rockville for Doctors Community Hospital.

Claims: Medical malpractice, wrongful death


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