Tuer v. McDonald
Court of Appeals of Maryland
701 A.2d 1101 (Md. 1997)
Mr. Tuer was to have coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Prior to the surgery he was having chest pains so he was prescribed Heparin to help with the pain. As was protocol at the hospital, he stopped being administered Heparin on the morning of the surgery because it was not good to have the drug in his blood during surgery. Right before the surgery, Dr. McDonald (defendant) was called away to an emergency with another patient. This postponed the surgery. Dr. McDonald considered restarting the Heparin for Mr. Tuer, but decided not to because of the danger of having it in his blood during surgery. Approximately four hours later, before the surgery was underway, Mr. Tuer went into cardiac arrest and died the next day. Subsequently, Dr. McDonald and the hospital changed its protocol of discontinuing Heparin the morning of surgeries. Under the new protocol, patients would be given Heparin right up until they are taken into surgery. Mrs. Tuer (plaintiff) filed a medical malpractice suit against Dr. McDonald. She tried to introduce evidence of the subsequent remedial change in protocol under either a feasibility or impeachment theory. The Circuit Court for Baltimore County barred the evidence and ruled in favor of Dr. McDonald. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed. Mrs. Tuer appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wilner, J.)
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