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In some instances, it is clear that a health care provider’s actions or failure to act can provide a basis for a viable medical malpractice claim, but in other cases, the law is unsettled as to whether a provider’s behavior would fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. For example, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently denied a plaintiff’s request that the court certify the question of whether a doctor commits malpractice by engaging in a sexual relationship with the plaintiff, despite the fact that the issue is unsettled under Maryland law. If you were harmed by your healthcare provider’s inadequate care or inappropriate behavior, it is in your best interest to speak with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff both treated with and worked for the defendant physician. Throughout the course of their employment relationship, the plaintiff suffered from significant health problems and underwent an organ transplant. The defendant subsequently advised the plaintiff that he would take care of the plaintiff and protect her employment in exchange for sex. The plaintiff felt as if she was unable to decline, and the two began an intimate relationship. On other occasions, the defendant would ask for sex as a form of compensation for medical treatment.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in pertinent part, that the defendant committed medical malpractice by engaging in inappropriate and unethical sexual contact with the plaintiff. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration. Continue Reading

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Although the majority of Maryland medical malpractice cases allege that a patient suffered harm because of negligent care, suits for harm caused by medical providers are not limited to malpractice claims. In most cases, however, even if a plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges the violation of a statute or regulatory standard pertaining to medical treatment, the plaintiff will have suffered harm due to medical errors as well. Thus, it is critical for anyone who suffered damages due to medical treatment to retain an experienced attorney who will assert the proper claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s claims alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), finding that the claims actually alleged medical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care in a hospital, you should consult a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident, after which he was transferred to the defendant hospital. He was admitted, intubated, received blood transfusions, and underwent diagnostic tests and a surgical procedure. He remained in the hospital for eleven days. During that time, he required amputation of both legs. The plaintiff ultimately brought a suit against the defendant, alleging it violated EMTALA by neglecting to properly screen him or stabilize his condition. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.

Violation of EMTALA Versus Medical Malpractice

On appeal, the court affirmed. The court explained that the EMTALA was enacted to prevent hospitals from dumping patients, which is described as either refusing to provide patients who are unable to pay with emergency medical treatment or transferring them before they are in a stabilized condition. Thus, the EMTALA requires hospitals to screen a person to determine whether he or she is suffering from an emergency medical condition and if so, to stabilize the person’s condition in certain circumstances, as is necessary to secure the person’s transfer without allowing the condition to further deteriorate. Continue Reading

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Generally, when a defendant physician is accused of committing medical malpractice, the physician will refute the allegations throughout the process of litigation but will participate in defense of the plaintiff’s claims. A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case may seemingly be left with no recourse, however, if the defendant physician leaves the country and refuses to participate in the case. Recently, a federal appellate court discussed whether the insurer of a physician accused of medical malpractice can be held liable for damages assessed against the physician after the physician fled the country. If you were harmed by medical malpractice, it is important to retain an attorney who will fight diligently to protect your interests.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant doctor treated the plaintiff’s decedent for shortness of breath and chest pain. While the defendant administered a stress test and EKG to the decedent and prescribed him a beta-blocker, the defendant did not advise the decedent to seek any other medical attention or visit a cardiologist. The decedent died due to a cardiac event eight days after he visited the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently advised the defendant’s malpractice insurer that she intended to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, and provided the insurer with a copy of the complaint. The insurer retained an attorney to represent the defendant, but he was unable to locate the defendant, who moved to Pakistan and had no plans to return.

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Medical malpractice cases differ from other civil lawsuits in a variety of ways. For example, in many states, including Pennsylvania, a plaintiff is required to file a certification from a qualified medical professional that indicates the plaintiff’s claim has merit. Although plaintiffs may be tempted to couch medical malpractice allegations as other claims, they cannot evade the statutory certification requirements by merely pleading different causes of action. This was shown in a recent Pennsylvania ruling in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case for failing to provide a certificate of merit. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group, have ample experience litigating medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other nearby states, and are eager to assist you with your claims.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent oral surgery in August 2016. In July 2018, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant surgeon, alleging the surgeon committed a battery by failing to obtain his consent to perform the procedure or consent to place the plaintiff under general anesthesia. The plaintiff failed to file a certificate of merit with his complaint as required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, the defendant ultimately filed a notice of intention to enter a judgment of non pros, due to the failure to provide a certificate of merit. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to find that his asserted his claims in medical battery, rather than medical malpractice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and entered the judgment of non pros. The plaintiff appealed.

Determining a Claim in Malpractice

On appeal, the court addressed the plaintiff’s argument that his complaint asserted medical battery and not medical negligence, and therefore, a certificate of merit was not required. The court disagreed, explaining that a medical malpractice case has two defining characteristics. First, it occurs within the context of a professional relationship. Secondly, it raises questions of medical judgment, that are beyond the scope of common experience and knowledge of a typical person. Thus, if a court finds that both factors are met, the plaintiff must comply with the substantive and procedural requirements that apply to a medical malpractice case in pursuing damages.

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In some instances, a plaintiff will not only suffer harm due to one instance of medical malpractice but will be injured by multiple negligent providers. Unless the instances of harm are in some way related, however, damages for each harmful event must typically be pursued separately. Recently, the United States District Court, District of Columbia, discussed when a claim accrues and what filing date should be considered when a plaintiff pursues multiple medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is wise to speak with an attorney regarding your possible claims. The skillful attorneys of Arfaa Law Group represent injured parties in medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and other nearby states.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, in January 2006, the plaintiff underwent a knee replacement at a government-owned hospital. He subsequently suffered infections, which lead to an amputation of his leg above the knee. Pursuant to the requirements imposed by federal law, he filed an administrative claim with the defendant in September 2008, alleging malpractice and negligence claims. His claim was denied, after which he filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice claims against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, which required the case to be filed within two years of the date of harm. The court granted the motion in part, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims arising out of his knee replacement, post-replacement care, and amputation, leaving only his claims of malpractice arising out of his post-amputation care. The plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration.

Determining When a Claim Accrues

On review, the court noted that the plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the defendant in 2005, related to harm from treatment for his shoulder. The court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s reasoning that the 2005 claim acted as an umbrella to relate the filing of his claim back to 2005, as the law does not permit a plaintiff to present one claim to the government and then file a lawsuit based on a different set of facts. Continue Reading

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When people have to contend with the death of a loved one in Maryland, they are often focused on laying the departed loved one to rest and healing emotionally, rather than a potential lawsuit. Thus, an innocent act such a cremating a loved one’s remains may provide fodder for a defendant to argue that his or her defenses have been damaged in a subsequent case that arises out of the deceased person’s death. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case in which the defendant appealed a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, arguing that the cremation of the plaintiff’s decedent’s remains constituted spoliation. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice, it is critical to speak with an attorney regarding what you can do to preserve your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical reversal of a colostomy, which was performed at the defendant hospital. After the surgery, the decedent developed an infection and sepsis. He died five days after the surgery. It was ultimately revealed that he suffered a bowel leak, which the defendant surgeon failed to diagnose and treat in a timely manner. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff engaged in spoliation of evidence by having the decedent’s remains cremated after his autopsy. Following the trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed.

Spoliation Under Maryland Law

Under Maryland law, the doctrine of spoliation is grounded in fairness and symmetry. In sum, it is based on the principle that a party should not be able to base its claims or defenses on physical evidence that it has since destroyed, to the detriment of the opposing party. In assessing whether spoliation has occurred, a court will determine whether there has been an act of destruction, whether the party intended to destroy evidence and whether the destruction occurred before the suit was filed, when the suit was imminent, or after the suit was instituted. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases are complex, and despite plaintiffs’ attorneys’ best efforts, juries do not always accurately understand the issues of liability and damages. Depending on what court presides over a medical malpractice case, when a jury finds in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff may not only suffer a loss of a damages award, he or she may also be required to pay the defendant’s costs as well.  In a recent case decided by the District Court for the District of Maryland, the issue of when costs should be awarded in a medical malpractice case was discussed. If you suffered an injury due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert claims against your care provider.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist attempted to administer a cervical epidural injection to the plaintiff. Following the attempt, the plaintiff contracted a staph infection. He eventually had to undergo emergency surgery on his neck to address abscesses and infection, and a laminectomy of his spinal column. As a consequence, he suffers from chronic pain that is permanent and is unable to perform many activities of daily life. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant anesthesiologist as well as the defendant doctor who cared for him after the epidural.

It is reported that the case proceeded to trial, and the salient issue presented to the jury was whether the defendants were medically negligent in the administration of the epidural and post-epidural care. The jury deliberated for some time but ultimately found in favor of the defendants. The court then entered an order requiring the plaintiff to pay costs. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases often hinge on the persuasiveness and credibility of each party’s expert. Thus, it is not uncommon for either party to attempt to discredit an expert, either by showing that the expert lacks the appropriate credentials to set forth an opinion or that the expert deviated from the applicable standard of care on a prior occasion. In a recent case arising out of Virginia, an appellate court discussed the standard for determining when potentially prejudicial evidence regarding an expert is admissible in a medical malpractice case. If you sustained injuries due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with an attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.  At Arfaa Law Group, our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys are skilled at helping injured parties seek recourse in lawsuits in Maryland and Virginia, and other states as well.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a blepharoplasty that was performed by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged the surgery was negligently performed, resulting in an injury to her right levator muscle, which rendered her functionally blind. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to preclude the admission of evidence regarding disciplinary proceedings against his expert witness. The court denied the motion, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $800,000.00. The defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the court erred in denying his motion.

Admissibility of Evidence Regarding an Expert’s Background

Under Virginia law, trial courts have a responsibility to weigh the competing considerations of the probative value and prejudicial nature of proposed evidence, in determining whether the evidence should be admitted. Further, the law provides that evidence is relevant if it logically tends to prove an issue in the case, and a trial court must decide whether evidence is relevant. Trial courts have the discretion to decide whether evidence is admissible, and the decision will not be disturbed absent a mistake of law. Continue Reading

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In most medical malpractice cases filed in Maryland it is critical for the plaintiff to present expert testimony to establish that the defendant care provider is liable for the plaintiff’s harm. In many cases, the defendant will try to argue that the plaintiff’s expert is not qualified to offer an opinion on the disputed issues, or that the expert failed to establish that the defendant deviated from the standard of care, in an effort to preclude the expert from testifying at trial. If a defendant does not properly preserve its objection to a plaintiff’s expert’s testimony, however, the defendant may waive the right to object. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland overturned a trial court ruling a plaintiff’s expert could not testify at trial. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is critical to retain a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to fight to protect your interests.

Procedural History of the Case 

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant due to the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff with oral candidiasis in a timely manner. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying on the grounds that the expert did not define the applicable standard of care during his deposition. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s case, as the doctor that was prohibited from testifying was the plaintiff’s only expert witness. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding her expert’s testimony.

Expert Qualifications in a Medical Malpractice Case

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-415(h), certain objections are waived if they are not made during a deposition. For example, objections to the competency of a witness, or the relevance or materiality of testimony are waived if they are not made during a deposition, and an objection would enable the opposing party to remove or eliminate the grounds for the objection. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to object to the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony during his deposition and therefore waived the right to object. Continue Reading

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If a person who has been harmed by medical malpractice wishes to pursue a claim against the provider that caused his or her harm, the person must pursue the claim promptly. In other words, if a person delays, the applicable statute of limitations may bar the person from recovering damages. In some cases, however, it may not be immediately clear which statute of limitations applies or when the statute began to run. Recently, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia discussed which statute of limitations applies in medical malpractice cases against the federal government in a case arising out of a failure to diagnose. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a doctor’s failure to provide a prompt and accurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue. At Arfaa Law Group, our attorneys regularly represent people in Virginia and Maryland malpractice cases, as well as cases in other states.

Facts Regarding the Decedent’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s loved one was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on December 23, 2011. He ultimately succumbed to the disease. In January 2014, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Veterans Administration (VA) and an independent contractor who worked there, alleging their failure to diagnose the decedent’s cancer in a timely manner. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the ground that they were barred by the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Statute of Limitations Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Medical malpractice claims against an entity of the federal government are governed by the statute of limitations set forth in the FTCA. As a result, a plaintiff alleging harm due to medical negligence in an FTCA case must file an administrative claim within two years of when the cause of action accrues. A cause of action in a medical malpractice case accrues when the plaintiff has uncovered both his or her injury and the cause of the injury. In other words, it accrues when the facts reveal that negligence may have been involved in the plaintiff’s harm.

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