On February 13, a jury awarded former Philadelphia Eagles player Chris Maragos $43.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit related to treatment for a knee injury that resulted in further, career-ending injuries. Maragos alleged both orthopedic surgeon James Bradley and Rothman Orthopaedics ignored damage to his meniscus while repairing a ligament in his right knee, causing further pain and leading to a premature end of his career.
Maragos, 36, said in a statement to the Washington Post:
On Sunday, my team played the Superbowl, and I could only watch and wonder whether I could have been out there with them had I received proper medical care. While I live in constant pain and will never get back on the field, I hope this decision sends a message to teams’ medical staffs that players are people, not just contracts.
Maragos suffered his initial injury back in 2017, when he tore his posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a game against the Carolina Panthers. Surgeon James Bradley did the surgical repair, but, per Maragos’ attorneys, damage to his meniscus was ignored, “even after a May 2018 MRI exam showed the injury worsening.”
That failure to diagnose led Bradley and the Rothman Orthopaedic rehabilitation team to approve Maragos to progress to heavier physical activities, placing “undue stress” on his knee. He never played in an NFL game again, and retired in 2019. During the trial, per the Post, an expert financial analyst told the jury that “having his career cut short cost Maragos at least $8.7 million in future NFL earnings, had he been able to play through 2022.”
One of the more interesting points that came up during the trial was the fact that Rothman Orthopaedics allegedly kept two different medical charts for Maragos, “one of which failed to include key notes about his injury and recovery.” Two-thirds of the $43.5 million was assigned to James Bradley, with the remaining third assigned to Rothman Orthopaedics.
Medical malpractice and professional athletes
We’ve talked about medical malpractice and the NFL before, but it bears repeating.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or other healthcare provider breaches the standard of care expected of them, resulting in harm to a patient. Professional athletes are not immune to medical malpractice and can be victims of such negligence.
Pro athletes rely heavily on their physical health and well-being to perform at their best, and they often require specialized medical care. This care may include diagnosing and treating injuries, performing surgical procedures, managing pain, and providing rehabilitation services.
In cases where a healthcare provider fails to provide appropriate care or makes a mistake that results in harm to an athlete, the athlete may have a case for medical malpractice or negligence. This could include situations where a medical professional misdiagnoses an injury, prescribes the wrong medication, makes a surgical mistake, or fails to provide adequate follow-up care.
In some cases, professional athletes may be more vulnerable to medical malpractice due to the pressures they face to return to the field so quickly. This can lead to healthcare providers cutting corners or overlooking important aspects of care, which can ultimately result in harm to the athlete. For example, although Maragos never returned to competitive play, his medical team did allow him to run during his rehab, which his attorneys allege led to further knee complications and injuries.
Who is liable for pro athlete medical malpractice?
When a professional athlete – or anyone, really – is harmed by medical malpractice, the responsible party or parties will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. In general, the healthcare provider who committed the negligent act (or lack of action) would be held responsible for any resulting harm. This could include a physician, nurse, physical therapist, or other healthcare professional who provided care to the athlete. In Maragos’ case, his surgeon and the rehabilitation group were both held accountable by the jury.
The Washington, DC attorneys at Paulson & Nace, PLLC can help you hold the right parties accountable if you’ve suffered injury or harm from medical malpractice.
Our record of success in malpractice cases
We have a long history of winning verdicts and settlements on behalf of our medical malpractice clients, including:
- Bell v. INOVA Health Systems – $3 million verdict for paralysis due to failure to diagnose an epidural abscess.
- Morton v. Adkins – $2.73 million verdict for paralysis during heart surgery by a prominent D.C. physician. Verdict was affirmed on appeal and paid in full.
- Cappadona v. Nimetz – $2.5 million verdict for medical malpractice. While the defendant appealed, the verdict was affirmed by the D.C. appellate court, which affirmed the usefulness of special verdict forms.
- Gerver v. Benavides, M.D. – $2 million verdict for medical malpractice.
- McDonald v. City Hospital – $1.75 million verdict in a medical malpractice case.
- Kasdin v. GWU & GWU Health Plan – $1.5 million verdict for loss of kidney due to malpractice.
- Bond v. Potomac Associates – Wrongful death of West Virginia man for improper treatment of pancreatitis.
- Hudson v. Crisler – Wrongful death following bypass surgery. The case liberalized malpractice law in Virginia.
Our legal team is eager to hear about and help with your case as well. We are here to walk you through the legal process with ease and confidence, and fight for the compensation and justice to which you are entitled.
Please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC through this contact form or by calling our office.