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Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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In medical malpractice lawsuits, medical documents and images detailing the plaintiff’s treatment are essential to proving liability. As such, if a defendant refuses to produce certain records, it can greatly impair a plaintiff’s ability to present a compelling case. In some instances, though, a defendant is permitted to withhold evidence, such as when the documents sought are privileged. In a recent opinion, a Maryland court discussed medical peer review privilege in a case arising out of alleged medical negligence during a surgical procedure. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a careless treatment provider, you may have a viable claim for compensation, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your options.

The Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff’s minor son underwent a surgical procedure that was performed by physicians at a military medical center funded by the defendant, the federal government. He was deprived of oxygen during the surgery and suffered a permanent brain injury and seizure disorder. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of medical negligence and lack of informed consent.

It is alleged that during the course of discovery, the plaintiff sought certain medical records from the defendant, which it refused to produce, citing privilege under the medical quality assurance statute. The plaintiff objected to the defendant’s claims of privilege and filed a motion to compel the documents. The court then conducted an in camera review of the requested documents and ultimately ruled in favor of the defendant.   Continue Reading

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Typically, people suffering from critical medical issues will visit an emergency department of a hospital. Medical professionals working in emergency departments triage patients according to the severity of their complaints, and it is unfortunately not uncommon for a patient to have to wait for an extended period of time prior to receiving treatment. Delays in treatment, absent some degree of harm, do not typically constitute medical negligence, as was discussed in a recent ruling in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a hospital due to a lack of damages. If you suffered harm because of inadequate care in an emergency room, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer about your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the emergency department of the defendant hospital with complaints of dizziness and a rapid heartbeat and breathing. He was checked in, and shortly thereafter, a nurse took his vital signs. He was then assessed by a doctor and underwent a series of diagnostic exams. After an extended wait, a second doctor advised the plaintiff he was being discharged. He was sent home without a diagnosis half an hour later. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in part that the defendant committed medical negligence by failing to properly treat the plaintiff. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, which the court ultimately granted.

Demonstrating Medical Negligence

Upon review, the court found that the plaintiff’s medical negligence claim was insubstantial, in that the plaintiff failed to allege the facts necessary to recover under the applicable laws. Specifically, the court noted that in order to establish the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant’s behavior constituted a breach of the duty owed and that damages to the plaintiff’s interests were proximately caused by the defendant’s breach. The court elaborated that proving the defendant’s negligence would require the plaintiff to establish the standard of care by showing what a reasonably prudent physician practicing in the same specialty as the defendant would have done in the same or similar circumstances. Continue Reading

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Many people with critical health issues require blood transfusions. Blood donors typically undergo thorough screenings, and their donations are tested before they are given to patients, but sometimes errors occur that result in patients becoming ill due to contaminated blood. People hurt by tainted transfusions may be able to recover damages, but as with all other medical malpractice lawsuits, they must prove a departure from the standard of care, which is typically established via expert testimony. The evidence needed to prove medical negligence in a case involving a blood transfusion was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a Maryland court. If you suffered harm due to the carelessness of a health care provider, it is advisable to speak to a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess your rights.

The Alleged Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a blood transfusion while he was at the defendant hospital. The defendant health care company tested the blood prior to its administration, which did not reveal any contamination. Shortly after the decedent received the transfusion, though, he developed symptoms of sepsis. The bag that contained the blood was re-tested and was positive for E.Coli. The decedent died within a few weeks.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. Depositions were conducted, after which the plaintiff was required to file a certificate of a qualified expert. Plaintiff’s counsel withdrew, however, and the plaintiff did not file the certificate. The defendants then filed motions for summary judgment. Upon review, the court granted the motions. Continue Reading

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Advances in surgical methods allow patients to avoid many of the dangers traditionally associated with invasive procedures. Surgery is not completely without risk, though, and complications can arise that can lead to devastating harm, such as the loss of a limb. Recently, a federal district court discussed whether a defendant’s actions following knee replacement surgery constituted medical negligence, ultimately determining that they did not. If you were harmed by an improperly performed surgery or other medical negligence, it is prudent to speak to a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment and Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a knee replacement at a hospital that was owned and operated by the defendant federal government, pursuant to a recommendation by his primary care physician. Following the surgery, he developed MRSA, which required treatment with a spacer in his leg as well as antibiotics. He then developed a second MRSA infection in his leg, after which he underwent another surgical procedure. A month later, he sustained a new antibiotic-resistant infection, and his wound remained open.

The plaintiff’s stepson, who had power of attorney for the plaintiff, directed the defendant that no treatment more invasive than antibiotics should be administered. The stepson left the country, however, and during his absence, the plaintiff underwent an amputation of his left leg. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging medical negligence claims. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court ultimately granted. Continue Reading

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Generally, when people are harmed by incompetent medical care, the cause of their damages is readily apparent. In some instances, though, it may take months or years for the source of a person’s injury to be revealed. As such, the law often allows some leeway in when a plaintiff’s statute of limitations for pursuing a medical malpractice claim begins to run. Recently, a United States District Court discussed the statute of limitations for malpractice claims against a government-owned medical facility. In this instance, the plaintiff alleged it took him years to uncover that a doctor caused his damages. If you were harmed by the careless acts of an incompetent physician, it is prudent to speak to a seasoned Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving the right to recover damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent an electric nerve test on his left ankle in January 2014. The test was performed at a medical center run by the Veterans Administration. He stated that the electrical stimulation that was administered during the test was excessive and caused him to be thrown to the floor. Following the test, the plaintiff suffered a swollen ankle, amnesia, anxiety, and fatigue. He continued to suffer ankle and foot pain but did not determine that the improperly administered test was the cause of his injuries until more than three years later.

It is alleged that the plaintiff then filed an administrative notice of his claim with the Veterans Administration. At that point, it was more than a year after the two-year statute of limitations under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) had expired. The defendant ultimately filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were untimely. Continue Reading

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There are many actions that can cause significant harm to hospital patients that do not clearly constitute medical malpractice. Thus, in any medical malpractice case, it is critical for the plaintiff to allege facts that demonstrate that the defendant breached the standard of care that applies to parties in the defendant’s profession; otherwise, the plaintiff’s claims may be dismissed. This was shown in a recent Maryland case, in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s claims due to the plaintiff’s failure to set forth any facts that demonstrated that the defendant engaged in malpractice.  If you sustained damages due to negligent treatment by a healthcare provider, it is critical to retain a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in gathering the evidence needed to help you recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s child was born at the defendant medical center in 1978. The plaintiff alleged that his child was switched at birth due to the gross negligence of the defendant and that the switch was subsequently hidden by silence and deception. Thus, in 2019 the plaintiff filed a pro se complaint alleging a medical malpractice claim against the defendant, and the case was moved to federal court. The plaintiff filed a motion to default, and the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, and in the alternative, a motion to require the plaintiff to file a more definite statement. After reviewing the pleadings, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Allegations Sufficient to Withstand a Motion to Dismiss

Pursuant to the federal rules of civil procedure, a plaintiff’s complaint must set forth facts that are adequate to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face, in order for the complaint to survive a motion to dismiss. In other words, the plaintiff’s complaint must contain allegations that are sufficient to provide the defendant with fair notice of the claims against it and the grounds for which the plaintiff alleges he or she is entitled to relief. Continue Reading

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Physicians take an oath affirming that they will not harm the people they treat. Thus, a physician can be held liable for engaging in behavior that is harmful to their patients. Additionally, Maryland law allows physicians to be held accountable for failing to involuntarily admit a patient to prevent the patient from harming others or engaging in self-harm, but only under limited circumstances. The criteria for imposing liability on an emergency facility or healthcare provider for failing to admit a person involuntarily were recently discussed in a case in which a mother alleged a hospital breached the standard care after her son died following his release from the hospital. If you were harmed or lost a loved one due to negligent medical care, it is prudent to speak to a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you might be able to pursue.

The Patient’s Treatment

It is alleged that the decedent, who was the plaintiff’s son, was arrested for stealing nasal spray, after which he became erratic and threatened to commit suicide. Due to his behavior, the police transported the decedent to the defendant hospital for evaluation. During the evaluation, the decedent advised he had previously been prescribed anti-psychotic medications, and that he had a history of attempting suicide. Ultimately, the defendant physician that evaluated the decedent determined that the decedent was depressed, but was not an acute suicide risk. As such, he was released into police custody. Approximately one week later, while still in police custody, the decedent died by suicide.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and the defendant physician, alleging they negligently breached the standard of care in multiple ways in the treatment of the decedent. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that they were immune from liability under Maryland law. Continue Reading

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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 people have to contend with the death of a loved one in Maryland, they are often focused on laying the departed loved one to rest and healing emotionally, rather than a potential lawsuit. Thus, an innocent act such a cremating a loved one’s remains may provide fodder for a defendant to argue that his or her defenses have been damaged in a subsequent case that arises out of the deceased person’s death. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case in which the defendant appealed a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, arguing that the cremation of the plaintiff’s decedent’s remains constituted spoliation. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice, it is critical to speak with an attorney regarding what you can do to preserve your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical reversal of a colostomy, which was performed at the defendant hospital. After the surgery, the decedent developed an infection and sepsis. He died five days after the surgery. It was ultimately revealed that he suffered a bowel leak, which the defendant surgeon failed to diagnose and treat in a timely manner. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff engaged in spoliation of evidence by having the decedent’s remains cremated after his autopsy. Following the trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed.

Spoliation Under Maryland Law

Under Maryland law, the doctrine of spoliation is grounded in fairness and symmetry. In sum, it is based on the principle that a party should not be able to base its claims or defenses on physical evidence that it has since destroyed, to the detriment of the opposing party. In assessing whether spoliation has occurred, a court will determine whether there has been an act of destruction, whether the party intended to destroy evidence and whether the destruction occurred before the suit was filed, when the suit was imminent, or after the suit was instituted. Continue Reading

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