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Medical malpractice trial for Maryland regent, lawyer dismissed upon her death

A medical malpractice lawsuit brought by Katrina Dennis, a University of Maryland regent and a corporate lawyer against a doctor and hospital at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, was dismissed Tuesday a week into her trial because the woman died from breast cancer.

The trial was supposed to last two weeks in Baltimore County Circuit Court, but Dennis died Saturday from the cancer that had spread around her body.

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Her lawyer, Robert Weltchek, confirmed that a mistrial was declared after lawyers for the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center made the request and Dennis’ lawyers did not oppose it.

Welchek had no further comment. A spokesman for the hospital, Michael Schwartzberg, also had no comment on the trial.

Dennis had alleged in her lawsuit that her doctor, Dr. Michael Schultz, head of the St. Joe’s Breast Center, was negligent in her care. She alleged Schultz led her to believe that her cancer, diagnosed in 2015, would not recur after surgery and didn’t press a drug, Tomoxifen, that might have staved off regrowth and spread of the cancer.

When she was diagnosed again with the cancer again in 2017, it had invaded other parts of her body, spreading to her blood, bones and organs before she died.

Lawyers for Schultz, a surgeon with decades of experience treating cancer patients, argued that he provided Dennis with the standard of care, informing her of her options and testing her blood and lymph nodes to ensure that the cancer had not spread.

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