David Ellin and Julia Arfaa are attorneys representing family.


A trip to the ER for what appeared to be morning sickness forever changed the life of one local woman. Her treatment has sparked a $28 million lawsuit.

In the summer of 2012 Tamara McVay had reason to celebrate. The 33-year-old mother of two had just found out she was expecting. As the fetus began to grow, her morning sickness was getting worse — to the extent that even getting dressed was a chore for the usually energetic woman.

“She could hardly stand up and then she wasn’t eating and that scared me,” Tamara’s husband James said. The two ended up in the emergency room. Tamara had lost about 14 pounds when she was admitted to GBMC for observation.

James says the medicine she had been prescribed wasn’t working. Four days after being admitted, Tamara had a miscarriage. After the miscarriage, Tamara slipped into a coma, and was transferred to Johns Hopkins. Today, at 35 years old, Tamara remains in the coma. Her husband is suing GBMC and Johns Hopkins.

David Ellin and Julia Arfaa are attorneys representing James.

“She had hyperemesis gravidarum and that’s when you can’t stop vomiting,” Arfaa said. “There was evidence for three days of liver dysfunction that was never picked up on.” GBMC says it stands behind the care it provided Tamara and they extend their sympathy — beyond that however the hospital is limited for legal reasons in what it can say about the events.

“We certainly extend our sympathies to the family, but patient privacy laws prevent us from discussing personal health information,” GBMC said. “Also, as a longstanding practice, we do not discuss pending or ongoing litigation.” But James thinks his wife was never properly diagnosed or treated.

The lawsuit is asking for $28 million. With those funds her husband hopes to bring his wife home and have her medical care costs covered for the rest of her life. Under Maryland law there is a cap on how much a person can be awarded for pain and suffering — but that is not the case under what’s known as economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages.

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