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Jury awards $1M to Prince George’s woman diagnosed with cancer after lack of follow-up

A Prince George’s County jury has awarded $1 million to a Fort Washington woman who developed lung cancer after her gynecologist failed to properly follow up on results of a hysterectomy.

The jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes Thursday before finding in favor of Roslyn Baxter, whose award will be reduced to $695,000 under the state cap on noneconomic damages.

“I think it’s the right outcome and Ms. Baxter may not have the thrill of living a full life but she will be able to go on living that she’s gotten what I’ll call justice for herself,” said Michael Smith, Baxter’s lawyer.

Experts estimated Baxter, 47, might live another year or two, according to  Smith, of Bekman, Marder & Adkins LLC in Baltimore.

Lauren Rodgers, Baxter’s gynecologist, performed a hysterectomy on Baxter in September 2011 when Baxter was 41 years old, according to the complaint. Pathology results indicated a possible malignant tumor and “close clinical follow-up” was recommended but Rodgers did not tell Baxter and did not refer her for a follow-up appointment, according to the complaint, filed in May 2016 in Prince George’s County Circuit Court.

Smith said the defense contended Rodgers acted reasonably and did tell Baxter about the pathology report.

Though Rodgers prepared a letter to have the pathology slides of the possible tumor forwarded to a specialist, she did not ensure they were sent and never referred Baxter, the complaint states. Rodgers did not see Baxter after a follow-up of her hysterectomy two months later, the complaint states.

Baxter developed a cough in February 2014 and scans showed nodules on her lungs consistent with metastatic disease, the lawsuit alleges. Baxter was referred to a specialist who asked for details about the 2011 surgery and subsequent report but Rodgers could only provide two pages of a four-page report and said she hadn’t followed up because she didn’t have any concerns, the lawsuit alleges.

The oncologist diagnosed Baxter with stage four lung cancer that originated in the uterus and she continues to undergo chemotherapy and additional treatments, according to the lawsuit.

Because of how difficult Baxter’s cancer is to treat, Smith said there was an issue proving Rodgers’ negligence changed the outcome. The defense argued Baxter’s cancer was unpreventable and she would be in her position regardless of Rodgers’ actions.

Rodgers was represented by Robert C. Maynard of Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhoades Chtd. in Rockville. Maynard was not available for comment Monday.

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Roslyn Michelle Baxter v. Lauren Rodgers MD, et al.

Court: Prince George’s County Circuit

Case No.: CAL16-21937

Judge: Toni Clarke

Proceeding: Jury trial

Outcome: Verdict for plaintiff, $1 million in noneconomic damages reduced to $695,000 under the state cap

Dates:

Incident: July to November 2011

Suit filed: May 9, 2016

Verdict: Sept. 21, 2017

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Michael P. Smith of Bekman, Marder & Adkins LLC in Baltimore

Defendant’s Attorney: Robert C. Maynard of Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhoades Chtd. in Rockville

Count: Negligence


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