Articles Posted in Failure to Diagnose

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland and other jurisdictions issued orders and laws impacting healthcare provider liability. While many of the orders and laws are no longer in effect, their ramifications are still present, as they can operate to bar medical malpractice claims. This was demonstrated recently when a court dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim arising out of the negligent treatment of COVID-19 in a patient who later passed away. If you lost a loved one or sustained injuries because of inadequate medical treatment, it is in your best interest to confer with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about what damages you may be able to recover.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the decedent was admitted to the defendant’s hospital for the treatment of asthma. She was on dialysis at the time as well. She was tested for COVID-19 upon admission, and her test results were negative. During her stay, however, she was placed in a room with a patient being treated for COVID-19. The decedent tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter. She declined rapidly and was placed on a ventilator. Sadly, she succumbed to the illness; her cause of death was listed as pneumonia and COVID-19.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the defendant on behalf of the decedent’s estate. In her complaint she asserted a single count of medical malpractice, in which she alleged the defendant’s negligence in exposing the decedent to COVID-19 and failing to provide her with adequate care caused her death. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that they were immune pursuant to COVID-19 laws in effect at the time of the decedent’s care. Continue Reading ›

People suffering from cancer and other critical illnesses typically expect their doctors to offer treatment that alleviates their disease or extends their life. Unfortunately, not all physicians provide their patients with competent care, and their negligence often diminishes their patients’ chances of achieving good outcomes. Recently, a Maryland court addressed whether such carelessness constitutes grounds for recovering damages in a medical malpractice case, ultimately ruling that it does not, rejecting the loss of chance doctrine. If your health was damaged by a careless physician, it is in your best interest to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney about your options for seeking damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the decedent was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2006. She had a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. She then underwent a series of diagnostic scans, all of which were negative for metastatic disease. A diagnostic test conducted in 2013 showed a new lesion on her clavicle that was potentially cancerous. The defendant, the decedent’s oncologist, reviewed the scan but did not order further testing or advise the plaintiff of the lesion’s presence.

Allegedly, three years later, the decedent underwent testing that showed that her breast cancer had metastasized to her clavicle. The decedent continued to treat but passed away in 2017. Her husband and their children filed a survival and wrongful death action against the defendant. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the theory the plaintiffs based their case on, the loss of chance doctrine, was not recognized in Maryland. The court granted the motion as to the wrongful death claim. The plaintiff appealed, but the ruling was upheld. He then petitioned for writ of certiorari requesting that the court answer whether Maryland’s Wrongful Death Statute permits recovery of damages where the actions of a doctor shortened the life of a terminally ill patient. Continue Reading ›

People harmed by the incompetence of medical professionals have the right to seek damages via malpractice lawsuits. The right is not boundless, however, as a person can generally only pursue claims against another party one time, regardless of the merits of the underlying allegations. This rule was explained in a recent Maryland opinion in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit, as it was the fourth case he filed against the defendant. If you were harmed by medical negligence, you might be able to recover compensation from your treatment providers, and it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Care

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant facility in June 2016 with complaints of pain and numbness in his left leg. He was examined, and as no abnormalities were found, he was discharged with a diagnosis of a muscle sprain. He returned two weeks later with similar complaints and was again evaluated and released. He went back to the defendant facility again nine days later. At that time, his complaints included cold feet. The treating physician did not check his pulse or temperature in his legs but determined the plaintiff’s symptoms were caused by the medication he was taking.

Allegedly, in early July, one month after his initial visit, the plaintiff experienced severe pain in his left leg. Testing revealed he was suffering from blood clots in his leg, and he was transferred to another hospital where his leg was amputated. The plaintiff then filed four different lawsuits against the defendant, alleging medical malpractice claims. The first two cases were dismissed, and the defendant filed an answer in the third case, which was filed in a Maryland state court and moved to dismiss the fourth, which was filed in a federal district court. Continue Reading ›

Whether a plaintiff in a Maryland medical malpractice case is awarded damages generally depends on the strength of the testimony provided by the plaintiff’s medical expert. Specifically, the expert must establish not only that the defendant departed from the standard of care but also that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, if a plaintiff’s expert cannot establish causation, the plaintiff’s claims may fail. Recently, a Maryland court discussed the standards for evaluating whether an expert opinion on causation is reliable enough to be admitted into evidence, in a case where the defendants were accused of medical malpractice for failing to diagnose the plaintiff’s cancer in a prompt manner. If you were harmed by your doctor’s carelessness, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney to determine your potential claims.

Factual History

It is reported that the defendants began treating the plaintiff in the summer of 2014 when the plaintiff reported blood in his urine. The defendants did not offer the plaintiff any diagnostic or laboratory tests that would screen for cancer. Subsequently, in the fall of 2015, the plaintiff was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in his kidney and bladder. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their failures led to the spread of his cancer, worsening his prognosis and reducing his life expectancy.

Allegedly, following discovery, the plaintiff submitted the reports of multiple medical experts, including one who offered an opinion that the defendants’ breach of the standard of care led to the plaintiff’s harm. The defendants then moved to preclude the plaintiff from allowing the expert to testify regarding causation at trial, on the basis that the expert’s opinion was unreliable. Continue Reading ›

Physicians have a duty to provide patients with competent medical care, which includes advising a patient of his or her individual health risks as well as the risks and benefits of any potential tests or treatment. As shown in a recent Maryland case, if a doctor fails to properly inform a patient of available diagnostic tests and treatment options, and the patient’s health is adversely impacted as a result, it may be grounds for a lack of informed consent claim. If you were harmed by your doctor’s failure to advise you of your testing and treatment options, you should speak to an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the defendant urologist in 2014 with complaints of urine in his blood. The defendant did not conduct any diagnostic tests to assess the plaintiff’s symptoms. Approximately a year later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with bladder cancer and kidney cancer. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant setting forth claims of medical negligence and lack of informed consent, due to the defendant’s failure to advise the plaintiff of available tests or recommend that he undergo diagnostic testing.

Allegedly, prior to trial, the defendant filed numerous motions in limine asking the court to preclude the plaintiff from introducing evidence at trial, including a motion arguing that the plaintiff should not be able to present his lack of informed consent claim, arguing that the failure to recommend tests is not grounds for an informed consent claim. Continue Reading ›

If a person who has been harmed by medical malpractice wishes to pursue a claim against the provider that caused his or her harm, the person must pursue the claim promptly. In other words, if a person delays, the applicable statute of limitations may bar the person from recovering damages. In some cases, however, it may not be immediately clear which statute of limitations applies or when the statute began to run. Recently, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia discussed which statute of limitations applies in medical malpractice cases against the federal government in a case arising out of a failure to diagnose. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a doctor’s failure to provide a prompt and accurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue. At Arfaa Law Group, our attorneys regularly represent people in Virginia and Maryland malpractice cases, as well as cases in other states.

Facts Regarding the Decedent’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s loved one was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on December 23, 2011. He ultimately succumbed to the disease. In January 2014, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Veterans Administration (VA) and an independent contractor who worked there, alleging their failure to diagnose the decedent’s cancer in a timely manner. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the ground that they were barred by the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Statute of Limitations Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Medical malpractice claims against an entity of the federal government are governed by the statute of limitations set forth in the FTCA. As a result, a plaintiff alleging harm due to medical negligence in an FTCA case must file an administrative claim within two years of when the cause of action accrues. A cause of action in a medical malpractice case accrues when the plaintiff has uncovered both his or her injury and the cause of the injury. In other words, it accrues when the facts reveal that negligence may have been involved in the plaintiff’s harm.

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In any case in which an injured party wishes to pursue damages, it is essential for the party to comply with the procedural rules set forth under Maryland law. Medical malpractice cases differ from other civil lawsuits, however, in that they have their own separate set of rules with regard to what a plaintiff must do to be permitted to pursue a claim. In a recent medical malpractice case arising out of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim for failing to file certificates in a timely manner, emphasizing the gravity of the failure to comply with the procedural rules. If you or a loved one were injured due to inadequate medical care, you should speak with a trusted medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must do to recover damages.

Facts and Procedures of the Case

Allegedly, the decedent visited the defendant hospital in March 2014, with complaints of lower back pain and numbness and tingling in his legs. The attending physicians assessed the decedent as having a pinched nerve and discharged him. A couple of days later, the decedent had severe back pain and began vomiting. He returned to the defendant hospital but died on the following day, due to septic shock. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) against the defendant hospital and the medical providers who treated the decedent.

Pursuant to the Health Care Malpractice Act, after the plaintiff filed her statement of claim, she had 90 days to file a certificate of a qualified expert. Reportedly, the plaintiff sought and obtained two extensions of time to file the certificate. She failed to meet the third deadline, however, after which the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On the day on which the defendants filed their motion, the plaintiff filed her certificate and a motion to extend the time to file the certificate. On the following day, she filed an election to waive arbitration with HCADRO. The case was then transferred to the circuit court, where it was dismissed, due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a certificate within the time limitations. The plaintiff appealed.

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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 ›

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:

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that you believe is the result of medical malpractice, our Baltimore medical injury attorneys are here for you. With extensive experience advocating for victims of medical malpractice in Maryland, we understand how to protect your rights and hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm that they caused.

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland remanded to the circuit court a medical malpractice and wrongful death case alleging failure to diagnose and treat the decedent’s condition within the appropriate time frame. In this case, the plaintiff failed to file a supplemental certificate in a timely manner and the circuit court dismissed the case as a result. The appellate court remanded the case to the lower court to clarify the question of whether dismissal was the appropriate response, or whether some other remedy would have been more appropriate.

In a medical malpractice case, Maryland law requires a plaintiff file a supplemental certificate of a qualified expert within 15 days following the date of the discovery deadline. The court is required to grant an extension to this deadline if “good cause” is shown. However, if a plaintiff fails to file a supplemental certificate of a qualified expert for a defendant, the court can dismiss the claim on a motion of the defendant. Here, the circuit court denied the plaintiff’s motion for additional time holding that the plaintiff did not show good cause. The circuit court, thus, dismissed the case altogether. While the dismissal was without prejudice, it had the same effect because the statute of limitations had run in the case.

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