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Medical malpractice cases arising out of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient often involve complicated issues and conflicting positions regarding what harm the patient sustained due to the delay in receiving a proper diagnosis. Thus, in cases in which the patient alleges a doctor committed malpractice by failing to diagnose the patient, expert testimony is needed to establish the doctor’s liability and the patient’s harm. In a recent case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered harm due to her doctor’s failure to diagnose breast cancer, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland discussed the scope of expert testimony permitted. If you sustained damages due to a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to hold your care provider liable for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and the Underlying Trial

Allegedly, the plaintiff noticed a lump in her right breast, which she reported to the defendant, her gynecologist. She underwent diagnostic testing, which reportedly revealed no evidence of malignancy. The plaintiff continued to treat with the defendant, who repeatedly advised her that the lump was nothing to worry about. In 2012, the plaintiff underwent a biopsy, which revealed that she had cancer in her right breast. She subsequently underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She then sued the defendant for medical malpractice, arguing that the defendant breached the standard of care by failing to diagnose her cancer in a timely manner.

Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, and the court issued an opinion reversing the verdict and remanding the case for further proceedings. Following the second trial, the plaintiff appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in precluding testimony from the plaintiff’s expert witness. Continue Reading

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Generally, many states allow for the tolling of the statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases under certain circumstances, such as when the patient’s harm is not discovered until a later date. Many states also have a statute of repose, which limits an injured patient’s right to recover under a medical malpractice claim, regardless of when the harm was discovered. In a case in which the plaintiff did not discover her harm until eleven years after her surgery, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently deemed the Pennsylvania statute of repose applying to medical malpractice claims to be unconstitutional. If you suffered harm due to a doctor’s negligence, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your rights. The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of the Arfaa Law Group regularly assist injured parties in cases in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as other states.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from a genetic condition that caused a diminished ability of her liver to develop a protein that is necessary to protect the lungs. To treat the condition, she underwent a liver transplant in 2003. The transplant was intended to cure the plaintiff of the condition. In 2015, however, testing indicated the plaintiff still suffered from the genetic condition. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her treating providers and the hospital where the transplant was performed. The defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the seven-year statute of repose under the MCARE Act (the Act) barred the plaintiff’s claim. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the trial court ruling. The plaintiff then appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Statute of Repose

The Pennsylvania Constitution states, in part, that when a person sustains a legal injury, he or she shall have access to the courts and the right to a remedy. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania noted that case law had established that the remedies clause did not establish a fundamental right to a remedy, but that the right to a remedy was nonetheless a significant right.

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In Maryland medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant care provider deviated from the applicable standard of care. Generally, this requires the introduction of an expert opinion. It is not uncommon for both parties in a medical malpractice case to attempt to introduce evidence to impair the credibility of the other side, but not all character evidence is relevant or admissible. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, discussed whether information regarding a defendant’s reputation or an expert’s potential bias should be admitted into evidence in a birth injury case. If your child suffered harm during birth, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Maryland birth injury attorney regarding what recourse may be available for your harm.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff mother was treated by the defendant ob-gyn during her pregnancy. During the course of her treatment, it was noted the plaintiff infant measured large and a C-section was scheduled in case one became necessary. However, the plaintiff mother wished to proceed with a natural delivery. During the infant’s birth, his shoulders were caught above the plaintiff mother’s pubic bone. An advanced procedure and traction were then used to deliver the infant. Following his birth, the nfant was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, a condition that causes paralysis due to a nerve injury. The mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant on her own behalf and on behalf of her child. A trial was held, after which a jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiffs appealed on several grounds.

Relevance of Reputation Evidence

First, plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the defendant’s reputation that was garnered from internet websites. On appeal, the court found that the evidence was properly excluded as irrelevant. The court stated that evidence is relevant if it tends to make a material fact more or less likely than it would be absent the evidence. The court noted, despite the issues of hearsay and the qualifications of the witnesses making the statements on the internet, evidence regarding the defendant’s general reputation did not speak to the issue of whether the defendant deviated from the standard of care in delivering the infant. Continue Reading

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It is not uncommon for a patient harmed by medical malpractice to have underlying claims arising out of the harm that caused the initial need for medical treatment. It is crucial for anyone harmed by negligent medical care to understand how any related claims may affect a potential claim against the care provider. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland case in which the plaintiff’s medical malpractice case was dismissed due to her settlement with her insurer following a car accident. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident. Following the accident, she underwent bilateral reconstructive breast surgeries at the defendant hospital. She subsequently developed cellulitis, which was treated with intravenous antibiotics, which were administered through a PICC line in her left arm. When the line was being inserted, it punctured her brachial artery. The plaintiff then underwent surgery to repair her brachial artery. She developed pain and reflex sympathetic dystrophy in her arm as a result of the injury to her brachial artery.

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver and ultimately settled the case, signing a release of all claims. Although the release expressly reserved the plaintiff’s right to pursue claims against her insurance carrier, it did not mention the defendant hospital. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against her insurance carrier for breach of contract. She alleged the harm suffered due to the PICC line as an element of damages. The claim eventually settled. Continue Reading

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In the majority of medical malpractice cases pursued in Maryland, both the plaintiff and the defendant will need to retain one or more experts to opine as to whether the expert deviated from the standard of care. If either party’s expert is not qualified, however, the party may be precluded from presenting the expert’s testimony at trial. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed the limitations of an expert’s qualification to opine on treatment related to his or her specialty in a medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm because of negligent medical care, it is wise to speak with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you may need to prove liability for your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical repair of an aortic aneurysm and a bypass of the right coronary artery. She went to a rehabilitation facility for one month following her surgery, after which she was discharged home. A few weeks later, she underwent an evaluation for blood pressure and other health issues with a certified nurse practitioner at a cardiology practice. During the appointment, the plaintiff’s decedent reported she was experiencing vomiting, weight loss, and nausea. Two days later, however, she was evaluated by the doctor who performed her surgery, who stated that she was not experiencing any complications.

It is alleged that at a subsequent follow-up with a second cardiologist, she again reported vomiting and other issues. The second cardiologist discontinued three of the plaintiff’s decedent’s medications due to her ongoing symptoms. She subsequently developed a pericardial effusion and congestive heart failure. She died shortly after that from sepsis of an unknown origin. Before her death, it was suspected that the plaintiff’s decedent was suffering from mesenteric ischemia, but an autopsy did not reveal any evidence of the condition. Continue Reading

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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.