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Maryland Medical Malpractice and Medical Marijuana

marijuanaPatients have a right to be treated appropriately by health care providers who are diagnosing them and prescribing medications for them. If you or your loved one has been harmed by a medical professional’s prescription or recommendation regarding a drug, you need to consult a Baltimore medication error attorney as soon as possible.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission records list a total of 520 eligible medical marijuana providers statewide. The first batch of medical marijuana is expected to hit the market before the end of the year. Although it was legalized in 2013, the rollout has been slow due to a variety of reasons. In Maryland, the law limits the use of medical marijuana to patients with certain documented health conditions, such as wasting syndrome, severe pain, glaucoma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

Some Maryland physicians are worried about the possibility of medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from the use of medical marijuana. In an effort to address this, one doctor has created a legal release form for patients to sign. If patients don’t sign it, he won’t “recommend” the marijuana. The term “recommendation” is used over “prescription” because federal law still prohibits the prescription of marijuana, so many physicians use the term to shield themselves from potential liability.

Another reason to use the term “recommend” is that there is not much evidence-based data surrounding the use of medical marijuana. With other drugs, such as a painkiller, there is extensive research, and doctors can prescribe a specific amount and give patients specific instructions about how to take the medication. This is simply not the case with medical marijuana. Doctors can simply prescribe up to 120 grams of the drug, and the rest is up to the patient.

In Maryland, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional causes an injury or death to a patient by failing to adhere to the standard of care that an ordinary, careful medical professional in the same specialty would have used under the same or similar circumstances. Put another way, the relevant question in a medical malpractice case is:  would another doctor in the same specialty have acted the same way in the same situation? In the context of a medical malpractice case involving medical marijuana, the question of liability might center on the reasonableness of recommending marijuana to patients at all. Alternatively, it might devolve into an argument about the amount that was given. Considering there is not much evidence on the matter, this type of medical malpractice case can be complex, with opposing witnesses trying to convince the jury that marijuana does or does not have medical benefits.

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should reach out to a skilled Baltimore prescription error attorney without delay. At Arfaa Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you strive for the justice you deserve in your case. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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