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Anticoagulant Overdose Malpractice Lawsuit

Fortiz v. Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital

Child SurgeryThis is a medication overdose medical malpractice lawsuit in Baltimore brought by the parents of a minor patient on their own behalf and on behalf of their child. The defendants are Washington Pediatric Health System, a Queen Anne's pediatrician, and a Baltimore pediatrician.

Plaintiff's malpractice lawyers are unsure why the child in this case received an overdose of Lovenox, an anticoagulant for the treatment for deep vein thrombosis. But what they do know is that the child would not have received nearly three times the appropriate dosage without someone making a mistake. If the complaint is accurate, malpractice seems fairly clear in this case. The big question will be what the child's damages were.

This lawsuit is filed in Maryland's Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office on January 9th, 2018. This is the 13th medical malpractice suit filed in the state of Maryland in 2018.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

An infant is born with multiple health issues including pulmonary hypertension and congenital hernia. She is placed on an umbilical venous catheter ("central line") to administer fluids and medications as needed. Due to the central line placement, the infant develops deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).

While receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the infant is given Lovenox (an anticoagulant and blood thinner medication). The patient is transferred from John Hopkins to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. At Mt. Washington, her Lovenox dosage is increased to 11.3 milligrams.

The infant is discharged and her parents are given pre-filled Lovenox syringes to administer at home. These syringes mistakenly contain 30 milligrams of Lovenox. Soon, the infant develops a high fever, vomiting, and seizure-like symptoms. The infant is hospitalized and experiences two full seizures from an overdose of medication. After two weeks of receiving the incorrect dosage, physicians at Johns Hopkins finally notice and correct the error.

Case Analysis
  • Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot develops within one of the deep veins of the human body. It usually develops in the legs.
  • More than 1.5 million Americans each year are injured by medication mistakes. Most of these errors occur in hospitals or other long-term care facilities. However, less than 25% of these errors cause life-threatening issues.
  • Lovenox, the medication in this case, was once recalled internationally. Several European nations recalled the drug after several samples were found to have a potentially lethal contamination. The FDA has not recalled Lovenox in the U.S.
  • Lovenox is similar to heparin. Xaparin and Clexane are other heparins on the market used for deep vein thrombosis.Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside your body.
  • The most famous anticoagulant case was when Dennis Quaid sued a Los Angeles hospital after the actor's newborn twins were given 1,000 times the recommended dosage of heparin. The hospital settled the suit for $750,000.
  • The complaint focuses on three distinct points of negligence: A treating doctor's mistake in filling out a prescription sheet, another doctor's failure to recognize that the infant's symptoms of overmedication, and the hospital's institutional negligence that allowed the prior errors to occur.
  • The suit does not specifically state that the infant has any long-term health issues due to the overmedication. However, the complaint does suggest the plaintiffs may have some additional future medical expenses. The question is going to be damages. Can plaintiffs' malpractice lawyers link up the seizures and other problem the child had to the overdose and what is the monetary value of that suffering.
Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses

Unknown at this time.

Alleged Negligence
  • The defendants were negligent in mistakenly providing the parents of an infant patient with syringes containing three times the amount of a prescribed blood thinner/anti-coagulant.
  • The incorrect dosage was not noticed by the patient's prescribing doctor or by a second physician, leading to an unnecessary delay in diagnosis.
  • Due to the defendants' error, the infant developed further health problems including seizures.
  • The patient's family incurred significant medical expenses due to the defendants' negligence.

Two pediatricians and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital


Baltimore County

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