Maryland Lawsuits AgainstWashington Adventist Hospital

Takoma Park, MD 20912

About Washington Adventist Hospital

According to Maryland Judiciary Case Search, Washington Adventist, entered with that exact spelling, has been sued for medical malpractice 11 times and for tort claims 2 times since 2012. The exact search criteria used on Maryland Judiciary Case Search is as follows:  Company: Washington Adventist, Party Type: Defendant, Case Type: Civil (Medical Malpractice & Other Tort), Court System: Circuit Court only, County: Default All, Filing Date: 9/26/2012-07/27/2022.

History of Washington Adventist Hospital

Founded in 1907  by members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as the Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park, MD, the facility later became known as Washington Adventist Hospital. The hospital serves metro Washington, D.C., and surrounding Maryland counties with a focus on providing healthcare for underserved members of the community. In 1971, the facility made history as the site of the first open heart surgery in Montgomery County and continued to develop a reputation as a premier hospital in the fields of cardiac care, cancer treatment, and orthopedic surgery.

As Washington Adventist Hospital continued to grow throughout the 1990s and 2000s, it expanded its reach in the metro D.C. area by forming a branding initiative called Adventist Healthcare. The Adventist Health Care system now includes over 60 facilities, including imaging centers, outpatient clinics, and primary care offices.

In September 2019, Washington Adventist Hospital relocated from Takoma Park, MD, to Silver Spring, MD, and rebranded as Adventist Healthcare White Oak Medical Center.  However, despite the 2019 name change, the hospital was still listed as a defendant in medical malpractice lawsuits under its prior name of Washington Adventist Hospital as recently as September 2021. When Adventist Healthcare White Oak is entered on Maryland Judiciary Case Search using the same metrics listed above, the case count increases by 2 medical malpractice claims. 

Lawsuits Involving Washington Adventist Hospital

In January 2020, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (COSA) issued an opinion on how the cremation of a family member’s remains relates to a subsequent medical malpractice lawsuit filed on their behalf. The decision was handed down after Adventist Healthcare Inc., which owns and operates Adventist Healthcare White Oak Medical Center (formerly Washington Adventist Hospital), appealed a medical malpractice verdict in the plaintiff’s favor on the grounds that her choice to cremate her son’s remains amounted to willful destruction of evidence.

According to the appeal, James Mattingly, Jr., died at Washington Adventist Hospital in 2014 when he developed a massive septic infection after a colostomy reversal surgery. His mother, Susan Mattingly, then arranged a private autopsy to confirm her son’s cause of death. The autopsy examiner and accompanying pathologist subsequently determined that James Mattingly died as a result of a “failed surgical…joining of his sigmoid colon and rectum” during the colostomy reversal procedure. This failure to properly fuse the colon and rectum, they stated, caused contamination in his peritoneal cavity, spurring a severe and ultimately fatal infection. Following the autopsy, Susan Mattingly had her son’s remains cremated.

Based on James Mattingly’s autopsy findings, Susan Mattingly filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Adventist Healthcare, Inc., Washington Adventist Hospital, and Dr. Sarabjit Anand, the surgeon who performed the colostomy reversal. The case eventually went to trial in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, and a jury ruled in Susan Mattingly’s favor. She was awarded $1.35 million in damages, though damage caps reduced the verdict to $740,000.

The defendants then appealed the verdict, arguing that Susan Mattingly’s decision to arrange a private autopsy of her son and then cremate his remains could reasonably be considered spoilation of evidence, i.e., the willful or negligent destruction or withholding of evidence to alter the outcome of a legal proceeding. Since the remains of the decedent at the center of the medical malpractice lawsuit were destroyed, the appeal argued, the defendants’ ability to present their full argument before a jury was compromised. Their appeal eventually worked its way up to the COSA, which upheld the jury’s decision in Susan Mattingly’s favor. In its written decision, COSA noted that when “an individual who has authority to make decisions about the appropriate disposition of a decedent’s remains chooses to…have the remains cremated, the person with authority has no duty to preserve evidence from the body…when a person authorized to have a decedent’s remains cremated chooses to do so…the authorized person has not engaged in spoliation.”

Some of the major personal injury attorneys that regularly sue Washington Adventist Hospital, now known as Adventist White Oak Medical Center, for medical malpractice are:  Shelsby & Leoni, P.A.; Gilman & Bedigian, LLC; and McCarthy, Winkelman, Mester, & Offutt, LLP.  As the hospital is based in Montgomery County, the majority of malpractice cases against it are filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court. If you or a loved one have been injured by Washington Adventist Hospital/Adventist White Oak Medical Center, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to assess your claim.

Last updated July 27, 2022

All data below is as according to the MD Judiciary, As of: 9/26/2012. Data Policy

Washington Adventist Hospital Lawsuit Statistics

Lawyers with Experience in Washington Adventist Hospital Lawsuits

O'Shaughnessy, Phillips P

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