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What Constitutes an Allegation of Medical Malpractice in Maryland

wheelchairIf you have been injured in a nursing home facility or rehabilitation center, it is important to reach out to a skilled Baltimore nursing malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Even if at first glance, your case does not seem like a medical malpractice claim – the reality is that it might be. If it is a medical malpractice claim, you need to be prepared to follow a variety of procedural guidelines. At Arfaa Law Group, we understand the nuances of this area of the law and can put our knowledge to use in your case.

The Maryland Court of Appeals granted review in a number of cases earlier this year. One of these cases addresses the issue of what constitutes an allegation of medical malpractice that invokes the Maryland Health Claims Act.

In the case at hand, the plaintiff was admitted to the nursing rehabilitation center to be treated for rehabilitation after back surgery. Two days later, the plaintiff’s mattress came loose from her bed and came sliding off the bed frame, causing the plaintiff to fall onto the floor. The rehabilitation center used a mechanical lift to put the woman back in bed, since the center is a ‘no lift’ facility. Unfortunately, the nurse who was using the mechanical lift used it incorrectly and ended up releasing the net too soon, causing the patient to drop to the floor.

The plaintiffs filed a negligence lawsuit against the facility, rather than a medical malpractice claim, reasoning that the incident in question was not related to medical treatment. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that lifting someone off the floor was not administering medical treatment, so this was not a medical malpractice claim. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiffs were required to file in the Maryland Healthcare Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Office prior to filing the lawsuit, a procedural requirement that is applicable to all medical malpractice claims. The court ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim. The plaintiffs appealed.

On appeal, the court agreed with the lower court. Here, the plaintiff was admitted to the rehabilitation center for round-the-clock care after her back surgery. The court explained that, under these circumstances, the initial fall and the subsequent fall would be considered a “medical injury.” Furthermore, even if the first fall was not a medical injury, the second fall certainly was because it involved the use of a lift that required a level of training beyond that of an average person. In this case, the lift was operated by a trained nurse, whose job it was to safely elevate the patient. As a result, the ordinary negligence in this case could constitute medical malpractice, which would have necessitated the plaintiff to file with the ADR office prior to the circuit court.

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a nursing home, you need to reach out to our skilled Baltimore nursing negligence attorneys without delay. We will explore the facts of your case and determine whether malpractice took place. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to protecting the rights of Maryland clients at every step of the way. For more information, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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