Doctor’s Apparent Suicide Follows Looming Malpractice Trial

 

Dr. Michael Judd Easton Md.

Dr. Michael Judd Easton Md.

 

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

EASTON, MD. — The body of Easton physician Dr. Michael Judd was found at his home at about 8:15 am on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The State Medical Examiner will determine a cause of death and the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office believes there was no foul play and is an apparent suicide from a shotgun. Police say that a suicide note was present but did not release the details of that note.

A claim to the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office was made by James and Amanda Tyler against Dr. Judd for malpractice on Oct. 6, 2012.

The couple laid out their cause of action calling for damages suffered as a result of a botched sterilization performed by Dr. Judd on Mrs. Tyler.

The facts of the case were fairly conclusive in that not only did subsequent pain and suffering cause Mrs. Tyler to lose her employment and seek relief from a surgeon at Johns Hopkins but she also became pregnant and delivered another child after undergoing the sterilization procedure.

The malpractice claim was made against Dr. Judd and Chesapeake Women’s Health LLC., located at Purdy Street in Easton.

The claim alleged that Dr. Judd had proclaimed the procedure “foolproof” and on Oct. 29, 2009 performed the Essure Procedure in his professional office.

Tyler experienced constant pain and further examinations by Dr. Judd failed to provide any relief until she learned that in spite of the procedure which was supposed to have rendered her incapable of achieving pregnancy and Dr. Judd’s instructions to cease birth control use, she became pregnant.

The action by the Tyler’s asserted that Judd told them that Mrs. Tyler would need a hysterectomy after the childbirth as the only way to remove the Essure device coils.

During surgery on Oct. 27, 2011 to remove the Essure coils, it was discovered that the device had become embedded in Amanda Tyler’s bowel and had been the source of her pain for two years.

The action noted that following the surgery, her pain subsided and never returned. The claim asserted that Dr. Judd “deviated from the accepted standard of medical care, by, among other things, misplacing the Essure Device(s) by misreading the HSG, by counseling Amanda Tyler to cease oral contraception despite an inconclusive HSG, by ignoring her complaints of pain subsequent to Essure Procedure and/or by misdiagnosing the source of that pain.

“As a direct and proximate cause of Judd’s breach of breach of applicable standard of medical care, Plaintiff Amanda Tyler suffered serious abdominal pain for over two (2) years, became pregnant with her third child despite being advised by Judd that she had been effectively sterilized, lost her job and her associated wages, went through the pain of another and unanticipated childbirth, underwent subsequent and unnecessary surgery, incurred, and will continue to incur medical expenses, incurred the enormous expense of raising another child to the age of Eighteen (18) and suffered mental anguish.”

The Tyler case against Judd was filed in Talbot County Circuit Court and on Dec. 12, 2013 both parties were ordered to mediate the case with Robert C. Mueller with orders from the court that should they fail to reach an agreement that both parties must file a request for a trial date.

Over the past few months, the filing of motions for depositions of witnesses and employees of the Chesapeake Women’s Health LLC and other parties took place with a notice of discovery filed on Dr. Judd on July 24th.

Within a week, the respected physician had taken his own life.

A case of alleged medical malpractice against Dr. Judd was filed by Jeannette Rodriguez.

The case was against Chesapeake Women’s Health LLC as well as Archana Raj Rao MD., et al was filed on Dec. 1, 2011, and voluntarily dismissed by both parties, indicating a settlement was reached, on Feb. 18, 2014.

A malpractice case brought in 2006 was also settled.

There were no disciplinary actions or pending actions against Dr. Judd by the Maryland Board of Physicians Quality Assurance.

Judd came to Easton in 2002 with his wife, a Dewey Beach, Del, native and their children.

His website states that he served as Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Memorial Hospital in Easton, Md.

He received his medical degree from Ross University in 1998 and in 1999 completed his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Great Baltimore Medical Center before joining the University of Wisconsin Ob/GYN residency program from which he graduated in 2002.

According to Louise B. Andrew, MD, of Medscape, in a recent report, there are about 400 physician suicides each year in the United States, “…about the equivalent of at least one entire medical school”.

Dr. Judd had no criminal record and his driving record included a few traffic charges for minor offences issued by a variety of police agencies.

He was found at his home on Springfield Drive, located in a nice area on the edge of Easton.

According to Louise B. Andrew, MD, of Medscape, in a recent report, there are about 400 physician suicides each year in the United States, “…about the equivalent of at least one entire medical school”.

Dr. Andrew cites depression, alcoholism, bipolar, heart conditions and psychological distress as leading causes of suicide among doctors.

“The most common means of suicide by physicians are lethal medication overdoses and firearms,” stated the report.

Kristin Brooks Hope Center

Lawsuit in Delaware over baby’s death at the beach

 

Letter to The Editor:   

You will never know the curse of medical malpractice!  Providers and physicians who make any mistake are labeled as incompetent. Mechanics who misdiagnose your engine problem don’t lose their home or life. Doctors are HUMAN and Dr. Judd was a compassionate and competent physician. You are an insensitive and cruel man.
Beth Hall Sova, CNM, RN
(Editor’s Note: The word “claim” or “action” is used five times in this article in describing the Tyler’s lawsuit for malpractice — which will go forward.  Reporting on suicide is a responsibility of the media which is easily shirked.)


Letter to the Editor:

“Doctor’s Apparent Suicide Follows Looming Malpractice Trial.”  I was taken aback when I read it because the posting is truly insensitive and irresponsible blather.

Although perhaps insensitive given the timing, it is fair enough to report on a well-known and well-respected physician’s suicide.  However, speculating as to the link between the death and the “looming” malpractice case is reckless.  As you point out, the case has been filed for months.  There is no trial date and discovery is ongoing.  Is this really looming?  Your news story implies that the filing of a notice of discovery on July 24th was some critical tipping point.  Do you even know what that is?  Do you even know if Dr. Judd was aware of it, or whether it was simply served on his counsel, as typically happens in these cases.

If you had researched more about the lawsuit than the Plaintiffs’ lawyers’ allegations in the Complaint , you would know that Dr. Judd’s lawyers denied all allegations and retained physician expert witnesses that hotly disagree with the Plaintiffs’ “allegations.”

You also draw conclusions from the fact that the Rodriguez case and the 2006 were voluntarily dismissed prior to trial, implying to the average reader that Dr. Judd (and not any of the other Defendants) had settled those cases.  These assumptions are made without regard to their truth or falsity.

Curtis H. Booth
Cowdrey Thompson, A Professional Corporation

Easton, Md.

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Booth had been an attorney of record for Dr. Judd in the malpractice case of Jessica Elzey which had been settled in 2007 and therefore is in a position to reveal why and how that case was settled, should he so choose, as attorney-client confidentiality, with respect to Dr. Judd is now a moot point.)

Letter to the Editor:

Hi my name is Jessica Elzey. I am trying to find out who put my name in the Judd write up and how can I get it removed. I don’t feel that my case should be displayed or connected to whats going on or what happen.
 I don’t feel that something that happened in 2004 should have anything to do with him killing himself in 2014.

Jessica Elzey

Letter to the Editor:

First off, I would like to state that I am sorry for the young lady you spoke about in your article.  However, on the Essure website, it does warn consumers that the Essure product may migrate through the fallopian tubes into the lower abdomen and pelvis.

Secondly, I would like to send my regards to Dr. Judd’s family.

Finally, I would like to tell everyone my perception of Dr. Michael Judd.  Not only did he deliver both of my perfectly healthy children and follow me carefully through both of my high-risk pregnancies, he also saved my life.  I suffered from uterine atony after the birth of my son.  Not only did Dr. Judd stay by my side as I nearly hemorrhaged to death, he saved my life.  I would not be alive today if it were not for the actions of that man.

I know that many rumors are circulating in regards to his death and the reasons why he ended his life; however, I hope that people will remember the good things this man did for this community.  For every one person who had a bad experience, you will no doubt find thousands that remember him as I do, a hero.

Christina Eaton Tribbitt

Letter to the Editor:

Dr. Judd was a brilliant doctor and a wonderful person who helped countless people over his career. His bedside manner and empathy for his patients and their families were beyond compare. Let us not forgot the thousands he has treated that would not even fathom seeking treatment from another physician.

. We both will continue to stand behind Chesapeake Women’s Health, its’ physicians and staff.

Elizabeth Fink

 Letter to the Editor:

You are implying that the physician killed himself entirely because of a malpractice suit. Doctors are sued in this country every single minute of the day. They do not all end their lives, in fact, many continue on with full lives.

This was simply a situation occurring in his life. Depression is an illness that can strip anyone of their inherent coping mechanisms to deal with life situations. The situation does not have to be of a significant magnitude as was the nature of your article, it can simply be the dealing with stressors of day to day life.

In implying that a looming case of malpractice was the reason behind his suicide not only overshadows the good of his life, but places an unnecessary burden on the claimants in this case. They must now face the blame and shame game so rampant in our society. They are now opened to the scrutiny of “if” they had only taken the settlement and not forced the trial, he may still be alive.

So please don’t imply that one situation occurring in his life at the time of his death was the cause of his death. Instead why not use your power of responsible journalism to enlighten everyone on the all to often silent disease of depression. Who knows, you may just SAVE a life.

Rita Bounds, RN

 

 

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