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Regardless of the strength of evidence of medical malpractice, if a person does not comply with the procedural requirements of pursuing a claim against a medical provider, the person’s claims may be dismissed.  For example, anyone who seeks damages for a medical injury must first file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) within a certain amount of time, and if they fail to do so they may waive the right to recover damages. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals addressed the issue of whether the filing of a claim in the circuit court tolls the statute of limitations for filing a claim against a health care provider for a medical injury. If you suffered harm due to a medical injury, you should speak with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff was working as a security guard at the defendant hospital when he was physically assaulted by a patient. The plaintiff suffered injuries due to the assault. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant hospital and emergency room physicians, arguing that they negligently failed to appropriately assess the mental status of the patient that assaulted the plaintiff and failed to properly monitor the patient, who was mentally ill.

It is reported that the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that the complaint set forth claims of a medical injury within the scope of the Maryland Health Care Claims Act, which mandates that all claims seeking damages for a medical injury must first be filed with HCADRO. As the plaintiff did not file a claim with HCADRO, the defendants asserted the plaintiff ‘s claim must be dismissed. The trial court agreed, dismissing the claim without prejudice. Continue Reading

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People diagnosed with cancer turn to doctors to alleviate their fears, but not all doctors who treat cancer provide care commensurate with their training, and their patients often suffer significant harm as a result. If a patient harmed by medical malpractice pursues claims against a negligent doctor, the doctor may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that the negligence of a third party caused the patient’s harm. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed when it is appropriate to instruct the jury on the defense of non-party negligence in a medical malpractice case that arose out of the defendants’ insufficient treatment of a plaintiff with cancer. If you have sustained injuries due to inadequate treatment, it is prudent to meet with a proficient Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

In 2011, the plaintiff was diagnosed with renal cell cancer and an enlarged lymph node near the affected kidney. A surgeon removed the kidney but not the lymph node, due to its proximity to the inferior vena cava. The plaintiff then began treatment with an oncologist, who presumed the lymph node was cancerous and noted that it shrunk in reaction to chemotherapy. The oncologist ordered periodic scans of the lymph node over the next several years, which were interpreted by multiple radiologists, each of whom found no lymphadenopathy. Then, in 2015, a scan indicated the lymph node had become enlarged. A biopsy subsequently indicated the lymph node was cancerous, and additional scans showed that it could not be safely removed because of its closeness to the vena cava.

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Medical malpractice can happen in a variety of ways. If you suspect that you or someone you love has been hurt by medical malpractice involving electronic health records (EHR), our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can help. The rate of EHR-related claims has gone up drastically in the past decade and it is clear that adjustments have to be made to improve patient safety. As experienced medical malpractice advocates, we will meticulously investigate your case to identify any errors or lapses in judgment that may have caused you harm.

According to a recent report, EHR-related claims in medical malpractice lawsuits have increased from 0.35 percent in 2010 to 1.35 percent in 2018. Specifically, the rate of these claims shot up from a low of 7 cases in 2010 to an average of 22.5 between 2017 and 2018. It is important to note that EHRs are generally contributing factors as opposed to the primary causes of malpractice claims. Approximately 12 percent of the EHR-related claims were the result of technology failure, while 7 percent were the result of EHR lacking alerts or failing to send alerts. The main user-related problems included copying/pasting, EHR conversion issues and users entering the wrong information.

Researchers found that family medicine and internal medicine obtained the highest percentage of claims (8 percent) in which EHRs played a role, with cardiology and radiology next at 6 percent. General surgery and emergency medicine had the lowest percentage of claims involving EHRs (3 percent). Of all the claims related to EHRs, diagnosis-related claims accounted for almost one-third.

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Even through surgical procedures and techniques have rapidly evolved over the last few decades, the realty is that surgeons often make mistakes. If you or a person you love has been injured by a surgical error or negligence, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can help you and your family. We understand how a patient can be blindsided by a poorly executed surgery. Not only does the patient have to deal with physical pain, he or she typically also has to deal with lost income and the high cost of medical bills. We will thoroughly examine your case and help you figure out your next steps.

Researchers recently examined surgical adverse events that took place over a six-month time frame. The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, shows more than 50 percent of surgical adverse events were the result of human error. Of the 5,300 surgical procedures that were looked at by the study, adverse events took place in 188 cases and comprised of: death, infection, bleeding, neurological problems, and hospital re-hospitalization. Of the 188 adverse events, human errors were recognized in 106 (in excess of half) of these events. Lack of attentiveness, lack of recognition or cognitive bias was determined to cause more than half of the human errors. More than 54.8 percent took place during surgery, 8 percent took place before the surgery and 26.6. percent occurred after the surgery. The adverse event occurrence rates were categorized in the following way:

  • Performing the procedure – 51.6%
  • Planning or resolving problems – 29.3%
  • Communicating – 12.8%
  • Working with teams- 4.8%
  • Violating rules – 3.2%

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Physician burnout is an increasingly common issue in the medical field. Burnout not only puts the physician’s own health at risk, it jeopardizes patient safety. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice and you suspect physician burnout had something to do with it, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can help. In other words, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice if you were injured because of an overworked or burned-out doctor. Burnout cases are complicated and can be difficult to prove, which is why it is imperative to work with a legal advocate who has experience in this area of law.

A new report found that 56 percent of the 320 neurointerventionalists who participated in an online survey met the criteria for burnout. Burnout takes place when a medical professional continues to work long hours under stressful situations for a prolonged period of time. These findings are consistent with prior research that indicates approximately 50 percent of neurosurgeons and neurologists, and more than 60 percent of radiologists, report some extent of burnout. According to a survey with 22 questions, almost 50 percent of the respondents had high scores for indicators of emotional fatigue, 36 percent for depersonalization and 16 percent for unhappy feelings related to personal accomplishment. Almost two-thirds felt insufficiently appreciated by their hospital or department leaders with 40.6 percent highlighting they had seriously considered leaving medicine in the past five years. Over 60 percent also felt like they were not sufficiently compensated for their jobs.

Doctor burnout is a major problem in the United States and it can have severe, even deadly consequences for a patient. When a doctor experiences burnout, a wide range of adverse events may take place ranging from minor errors to extreme and irreversible mistakes. All medical professionals are required to provide competent care. If you have been harmed by a doctor who was overworked or experiencing burnout, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. To succeed in a malpractice case, you must show that the doctor’s negligence resulted in the injury and that the doctor failed to provide the standard of care that a sensible doctor would have provided. The standard of care refers to the accepted set of practices that other medical professionals in the same field would use when treating a similar patient under similar circumstances. 

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Unfortunately, medical over-treatment is a reality across the United States. While over-treatment may seem harmless, the reality is that it can cause injury or lead to making your illness worse. Many physicians believe that over-treatment can be caused by a medical professional’s own financial motives, the fear of malpractice lawsuits, or both. If you have suffered an injury that you believe was caused by medical over-treatment, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine your legal options to pursue compensation.

According to a recent study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other high tech scans for low back pain shot up by 50 percent between 1995 to 2015. Up to 35 percent of MRI scans for lower back pain were inappropriate. While medical societies have launched campaigns to convince doctors and patients to forego the unnecessary images, it has not improved the situation. Unnecessary imaging is not just limited to lower back pain. Americans spend in excess of $100 billion on different types of diagnostic imaging every year, much of which is unnecessary and, in some case, can be harmful. For instance, even though X-rays are relatively cheap, they can increase the risk of cancer.  According to doctors, another issue is that MRIs can provide too much information that is not related to the back pain, which can lead to confusion and surgery for benign abnormalities.

Over-treatment can take a serious toll on a patient. In addition to the expenses, patients may be subjected to risks like radiation, dangerous side effects and a number of other risks that are inherent with many intensive and invasive treatments and procedures. A doctor has a duty to treat you with the appropriate standard of care, which is the same level of care and caution that another doctor confronted with the same situation would exercise. If you are over-treated and this treatment results in harm, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault doctor if you can establish that the doctor violated the appropriate standard of care. In short, medical malpractice occurs when the doctor’s breach of the standard of care is a direct cause of patient injury.

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Failure to diagnose a patient’s illness properly is among the most common forms of medical negligence. If this has happened to you or someone you care about, we are here to help. Our Baltimore diagnostic error attorneys understand the devastating toll that a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or missed diagnosis can have on a patient and his or her life, which is why we will work diligently to help secure a better future for you and your family.

Diagnostic errors cause serious preventable harm to patients. Countrywide estimates for these errors range from 40,000 to 4 million every year. A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Diagnosis reveals that 34 percent (about one third) of all medical malpractice cases that lead to death or permanent disability arise from an erroneous or delayed diagnosis, making it the leading cause of serious harm among medical mistakes. And of those instances, about 75 percent can be tracked back to diagnostic mistakes involving three medical conditions: cancer (37.8 percent), vascular events (22.2. percent) and infection (13.5 percent). The most frequent disease in each category was lung cancer, stroke and sepsis. The findings, from an analysis of nearly 12,000 malpractice claims, were sponsored by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

When a diagnostic error leads to the wrong treatment, delayed treatment or no treatment at all, the patient’s health condition can be made much worse. If someone suffers harm due to a diagnostic error, a medical malpractice claim can be filed against an at-fault medical professional. However, the burden of proof in every medical malpractice case is on the victim, who must establish each of the following elements:

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Medical records are a way to document a patient’s medical history as well as the history of care that person has received by a specific medical professional. These records are vital to ensuring a patient receives adequate care. If you’ve suffered harm due to an error in your medical record or because your medical record was mixed up with another patient’s record, we are here to help. Our Baltimore medical negligence attorneys believe that victims of malpractice deserve full and fair compensation for their injuries and losses.

A study recently conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative has revealed that matching patients to their healthcare records is an ongoing issue in medical facilities across the country. Shockingly, in some places, the current patient match rate could be as low as 50 or 60 percent. The study also found that medical record errors are more common in urban health systems where patients obtain medical care at multiple facilities, indicating a need for more efficient data exchange not just within medical facilities, but also between them.

Mismatched patient records take place when two patients, frequently with a similar name, have their records mixed up by a medical professional. This can lead to a wide range of adverse health consequences for a patient, including, but not limited to: delays in patient care; patients receiving the wrong surgical procedure; patients receiving the wrong medication and an overall increase in healthcare costs. Another type of medical records error takes place when multiple patient records exist for the same patient. Not only are duplicate records inconvenient, they can lead to misinformation and medical professionals providing unnecessary testing and treatment.

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When a cardiologist fails to give the necessary importance and attention to a patient’s complaints, diagnosis, procedure or treatment, the consequences can be devastating. If you or a member of your family has been injured because of a cardiologist’s error or carelessness, call our Baltimore medical injury attorneys without delay. Having helped countless victims of malpractice across Maryland, we know first-hand how a medical injury can affect your life, family and livelihood.

In 2014, a woman drove herself to the University of Chicago for an appointment with a heart specialist. The woman, who was a retired postal worker, had a number of health problems and was experiencing shortness of breath but expected the visit to be a routine doctor’s appointment, according to her daughter. However, the physician ordered a test during which an artery was damaged. According to the lawsuit, this damaged artery led to the woman dying a few days later from internal bleeding. Earlier this year, a jury awarded the woman’s surviving daughter $3 million in the malpractice claim against the cardiologist and the hospital. Recently though, that amount was reduced to $2.6 million in a post-trial agreement in which the hospital agreed to drop appeals.

While this case took place in Illinois, the reality is that cardiologist malpractice is common across the country. According to a 2017 Medscape report, sixty percent of cardiologists have been named in a lawsuit. Over 53 percent were involved in claims where other parties were also named, while 12 percent were involved in lawsuits in which they were the only person named. The top three reasons for being sued included the following: complications from treatment or surgery, wrongful death, and failure to treat or delayed treatment.

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There is nothing more devastating than realizing your newborn has suffered a preventable birth injury. Aside from the stress of dealing with such an injury, you probably have a lot of questions. If your child has sustained a serious birth injury because of a medical professional’s neglect or mistake, you might be able to obtain compensation. Birth injury cases are among the most complex areas of medical malpractice law, but you can rest assured that our hard-working Baltimore birth injury lawyers know how to effectively advocate for your rights.

Recently, a Baltimore jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case in which the defendant was accused of causing a severe birth injury in 2014. The lawsuit arose from allegations that medical professionals provided a 16-year-old mother with inaccurate dire predictions about the possible outcome of the birth after she began experiencing preeclampsia. Facing that prognosis, which the mother’s lawyers say was incorrect; the teen underwent an unmonitored vaginal delivery when she should have instead had a C-section. This led to the newborn daughter suffering long lasting brain injuries from a lack of oxygen. In fact, the baby was born with a hypoxic brain injury, which caused cerebral palsy. She cannot walk, must rely on a feeding tube, and requires round-the-clock care.

Birth injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, but when these injuries are caused by medical negligence or careless errors made by a medical professional, you have the legal right to hold that medical professional accountable through a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional injures a patient by failing to act in accordance with the standard of care. The standard of care denotes the level of care that a reasonably competent doctor would have used in the same situation. You should be aware that the standard of care differs in each situation based on a number of factors including the patient’s medical history, age, condition being treated and more.