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In Maryland medical malpractice cases, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm. In cases in which the plaintiff alleges the defendant’s negligence caused the wrongful death due of a loved one, however, the defendant may be able to argue that the loss of chance doctrine operates to bar the recovery of compensation. The loss of chance doctrine is not always applicable, however, as discussed in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which the court explained the doctrine’s parameters. If you lost a loved one due to negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to examine what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant doctor in February 2013, with complaints of pain in his tongue. The defendant performed a scrape biopsy, which did not indicate cancerous cells were present, but the pathologist noted that the sample was clinically suspicious and may not represent the entire lesion. No further actions were taken at that time, however. In May 2014, the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant a second time, and the defendant recommended an excisional biopsy, which was performed in June. The second biopsy revealed that the plaintiff’s decedent was suffering from invasive squamous cell cancer. The plaintiff’s decedent underwent aggressive treatment but ultimately passed away due to the cancer.

It is alleged that the plaintiff failed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff’s decedent in February 2013 caused the decedent’s harm. Specifically, the lawsuit set forth survival and wrongful death claims. At trial, the defendant filed a motion for judgment at the close of the plaintiff’s case, arguing that the loss of chance doctrine barred the plaintiff’s claims. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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Maryland has specific laws regarding the procedures a person must comply with in the pursuit of damages for medical malpractice. If an injured party fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of the claim. However, a failure to abide by the proper procedure does not result in an automatic dismissal. Recently, a Maryland court discussed what a defendant must establish to show that a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit should be dismissed due to the failure to abide by procedure in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he suffered harm because of malpractice committed in a rehabilitation facility. If you were harmed by the inadequate medical treatment, you might be owed compensation, and it is prudent to speak to a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what steps you must take to protect your rights.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant rehabilitation facility following hip replacement surgery. He subsequently developed pressure ulcers in multiple locations due to the defendant’s negligence and ultimately required an amputation of his right leg below the knee. The plaintiff instituted his medical malpractice action against the defendant by filing a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (the Office) as required under Maryland law.

The law also requires that after a claim is filed with the Office, the parties must file a certificate of a qualified expert and an attesting report, after which a party can waive the right to arbitration with the office. After arbitration is waived, the plaintiff must file a complaint in the civil courts within 60 days. In this case, however, the plaintiff did not file the complaint until five months after the 60 day period had run. Thus, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint as untimely. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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In Maryland, there are numerous acts that may give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, a patient may pursue claims against a practitioner for failing to properly diagnose the patient in a timely manner or operating on the wrong part of the patient’s body, which may constitute medical negligence. Practitioners may fail to advise the patient of the risks and other information regarding a procedure, which may be deemed a failure to obtain informed consent. Recently, a Maryland court highlighted the differences between medical negligence and the failure to obtain informed consent, in a case in which the defendant sought dismissal of the plaintiff’s informed consent claims. If you suffered harm due to improper medical care, it is advisable to meet with a diligent Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to a hospital in August 2017, following a fall, where he complained of pain and swelling in his left knee. He was then transferred to another hospital where he underwent an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon, who noted the decedent was not a candidate for surgery and should be placed on antibiotics. He was prescribed antibiotics and discharged. He was then transferred back to the detention center where he had previously been incarcerated but he did not fill his prescription or take the prescribed antibiotics. However, he continued to complain of issues in his knee, and his condition deteriorated. He was ultimately transferred to a hospital, where he died of sepsis. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, the healthcare provider for the detention center, alleging numerous claims, including failure to obtain informed consent. The defendant sought dismissal of the failure to obtain an informed consent claim via summary judgment.

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Many medical facilities throughout Maryland receive funding from the federal government. Simply because an entity is federally funded does not mean it is immune from medical malpractice claims. However, a plaintiff seeking damages for malpractice that occurred at a health care facility that is considered a government establishment must comply with the procedural requirements set forth in the Federal Tort Claims Act (the FTCA). It is well established that the failure to comply with the FTCA can result in a dismissal of claims, as noted in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case. If you were harmed by incompetent care that you received in a government-owned or funded facility in Maryland, you should contact a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you might be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited a hospital at a United States military establishment for a right hip arthroplasty. Prior to the surgery, the plaintiff advised the anesthesiologist that she did not believe an epidural would be effective due to a prior laminectomy. The anesthesiologist nonetheless attempted an epidural three times before switching to regular anesthesia. The plaintiff suffered irreparable nerve damage during the surgery, which rendered her unable to walk upright.

It is alleged that the plaintiff then filed an administrative claim with a government agency alleging that the surgeon cut a motor nerve during the surgery. The agency stated there was no evidence of negligence but invited the plaintiff to submit an expert medical opinion. The plaintiff submitted a written report in which a medical expert stated it was difficult to ascertain the cause of her injury. The agency then denied the plaintiff’s claim, after which she filed a lawsuit under the FTCA, alleging the attending anesthesiologist committed medical negligence. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing, in part, that the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. The court granted the defendant’s motion. Continue Reading

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In an attempt to reduce frivolous claims, the Maryland legislature enacted the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claim Act (the Act), which requires, in part, that a person who wishes to pursue medical malpractice claims must file a statement of claim and a Certificate of a Qualified Expert and Report (CQE) with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) prior to filing a lawsuit. If a claimant fails to comply with these procedural requirements, he or she may waive the right to seek compensation. Recently, a Maryland court explained who may sign a CQE, in a case in which the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were dismissed due to an invalid CQE. If you suffered harm due to neglectful medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to set forth a winning case.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent back surgery at the defendant hospital. Following the surgery, employees of the defendant attempted to transfer the plaintiff from a bed into a chair and negligently dropped the plaintiff, causing him to reinjure his back. The plaintiff subsequently filed a statement of claim with the HCADRO, as well as a CQE signed by a registered nurse. He then filed a complaint against the defendant in the circuit court. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiff failed to comply with the Act because a registered nurse was not qualified to testify as to causation in the CQE. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in ruling that a registered nurse is not qualified to sign a CQE.

Sufficiency of a Certificate of a Qualified Expert and Report

The Act provides that a CQE must be signed by a health care provider, and the Maryland definition of health care providers includes registered nurses. The Act also provides that an expert providing a CQE must not only opine that the defendant departed from the standard of care, but must also attest that the defendant’s departure from the standard of care caused the plaintiff’s harm. Continue Reading

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When a person dies because of medical malpractice, the person’s family has the right to seek damages via a civil lawsuit. Specifically, the family members may seek compensation via a wrongful death and survival action. While generally the location of the harm is in the same jurisdiction as the deceased person’s residence, an issue can arise as to which state’s laws apply when the harm occurred in a different state than where the deceased person lived. Recently, a Maryland court discussed what state’s laws apply in wrongful death claims and survival actions arising out of medical malpractice in a state other than where the deceased person resided. If you lost a loved one because of incompetent medical care in another state, it is prudent to consult an attorney to discuss what state’s laws may apply in your pursuit of damages.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent, who was a Pennsylvania resident, traveled to Maryland to undergo a tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and a reduction of the inferior turbinate. Her oxygen levels fell below the normal rate following the surgery, but she stabilized and was discharged. After she traveled back to her home, she died of hypoxia, which was caused by a number of factors. The plaintiff subsequently filed a wrongful death claim and survival action in the Maryland courts. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion in limine, arguing that Maryland law should apply to the plaintiff’s claims. Upon review, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Substantive Law Determined by the Location of the Harm

Under Maryland law, different choice of law rules apply to wrongful death claims and survival actions. Specifically, the Wrongful Death Statute states that if a wrongful act took place in another state, United States territory, or the District of Columbia, Maryland courts will apply the substantive law of the jurisdiction where the act occurred. The courts have construed this provision to mean that if the wrongful act occurred in Maryland, the substantive law of Maryland will apply. In the subject case, the allegedly tortious conduct of the defendant occurred in Maryland. Thus, the court found that Maryland’s substantive law applied with regards to the wrongful death claim. Continue Reading

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Seeking damages for harm caused by negligent medical care is typically a complicated process that few people possess the skills to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. For example, pro se parties that pursue medical malpractice claims without the benefit of legal counsel are often unaware of the procedural requirements imposed on plaintiffs under state or federal law, and if a plaintiff fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of his or her claims, regardless of whether they have merit. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a United States District dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a medical center owned by a government agency due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you suffered harm due to inadequate care at a government facility, it is prudent to consult an attorney regarding what actions you must take to recover damages.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant medical center, which was owned by a government agency. The plaintiff alleged the treatment caused him to suffer paralysis and other unspecified injuries. Thus, without the assistance of counsel, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the federal district court, seeking damages for medical negligence and an injunction asking the defendant to take responsibility for his medical care and transportation until the case was resolved. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Following a review of the plaintiff’s complaint, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Pursuing Claims for Medical Malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act

First, the court noted that the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief seemed to request veterans’ benefits. The court noted that decisions pertaining to veterans’ benefits were solely the province of the Court of Veterans Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As such, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. Continue Reading

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While some medical malpractice claims involve straightforward facts, in other instances, the circumstances surrounding a party’s harm are complicated, and it is not immediately clear who is responsible or what steps are necessary to pursue damages. Any time a person is harmed by negligent healthcare, however, it is prudent for them the consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect the person’s right to seek recourse for his or her harm. This was shown in a recent Maryland appellate case in which the court affirmed the dismissal of a healthcare malpractice claim on the grounds that it was not filed within the time required under the Maryland Tort Claims Act. If you were injured by a healthcare provider at a government-owned entity, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your options for protecting your interests.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that when the minor-plaintiff was fifteen, he was taken into custody by the State Department of Health and ordered to undergo an inpatient evaluation due to self-harming behaviors. While he was admitted to the state facility, it was noted that he had difficulty controlling his impulses, was aggressive, and had a high risk of violence. It was also noted that he posed a danger to himself and to others.

Allegedly, while still in state custody, the minor-plaintiff was placed in a holding cell with other minors and was subsequently involved in an altercation during which he suffered substantial and permanent injuries. The minor-plaintiff and his mother subsequently filed a healthcare malpractice claim against the defendant in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), after which they waived arbitration and filed a complaint in state court against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to file the lawsuit in the time required under the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The court agreed, granting the motion, and plaintiffs appealed. Continue Reading

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The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of life throughout Maryland, including the process of seeking and obtaining medical treatment. As many states have issued orders limiting or eliminating liability for medical professionals, people throughout Maryland may be uncertain regarding their rights to pursue medical malpractice claims against a healthcare provider following negligent treatment during the pandemic. Currently, however, the orders and acts that apply to Maryland largely protect the rights of people injured by medical malpractice to pursue claims for inadequate treatment of COVID-19. If you or loved one sustained damages due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

Liability of Healthcare Providers Treating COVID-19 in Maryland

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act limits the liability for healthcare providers working as volunteers during the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the CARES Act precludes liability for any harm sustained when the professional is providing services that relate to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19, or the care or assessment of the health of a person suspected of having COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, however, in which the provider may be held liable. For example, a provider may be held liable for treating a patient while intoxicated and for criminal misconduct or gross negligence. It is important to note, however, that the CARES Act only limits the liability of volunteers, which is explicitly defined as healthcare providers that are not being compensated for their services. Continue Reading

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In any lawsuit in which a patient alleges he or she suffered harm due to medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish that the treating doctor breached the applicable standard of care. Simply because a patient suffers harm, however, does not mean that the doctor should be liable for negligence. This was discussed in a medical malpractice case recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The court found in favor of the defendant orthopedic surgeon. If you suffered harm during surgery, it is prudent to meet with a zealous Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a carpal tunnel release surgery that was performed by an agent of the defendant. During the surgery, the defendant’s agent lacerated the plaintiff’s median nerve, causing her injuries. The plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following a bench trial, a verdict was issued in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Sufficient to Prove a Breach of the Standard of Care

Pursuant to Maryland law, a plaintiff seeking damages in a medical malpractice case must establish the standard of care required at the time the medical care was provided, a breach of the standard of care by the defendant, and an injury caused by the breach. Expert testimony is usually required to prove medical negligence. Continue Reading

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