Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Medical malpractice cases are complex, and despite plaintiffs’ attorneys’ best efforts, juries do not always accurately understand the issues of liability and damages. Depending on what court presides over a medical malpractice case, when a jury finds in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff may not only suffer a loss of a damages award, he or she may also be required to pay the defendant’s costs as well.  In a recent case decided by the District Court for the District of Maryland, the issue of when costs should be awarded in a medical malpractice case was discussed. If you suffered an injury due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert claims against your care provider.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist attempted to administer a cervical epidural injection to the plaintiff. Following the attempt, the plaintiff contracted a staph infection. He eventually had to undergo emergency surgery on his neck to address abscesses and infection, and a laminectomy of his spinal column. As a consequence, he suffers from chronic pain that is permanent and is unable to perform many activities of daily life. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant anesthesiologist as well as the defendant doctor who cared for him after the epidural.

It is reported that the case proceeded to trial, and the salient issue presented to the jury was whether the defendants were medically negligent in the administration of the epidural and post-epidural care. The jury deliberated for some time but ultimately found in favor of the defendants. The court then entered an order requiring the plaintiff to pay costs. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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 ›

If you or your loved one has suffered harm because of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose or treat a condition properly, you may be able to recover financial compensation. At Arfaa Law Group, our diligent and hard-working Baltimore medical injury attorneys understand the intricacies of Maryland medical malpractice laws and can apply our knowledge to your case.

A California hospital recently agreed to pay a woman nearly $4 million to settle a medical malpractice claim that was filed by the family of a woman who has been in a coma since 2015, when she went into cardiac arrest in an emergency room waiting area after being discharged. According to the complaint, the woman’s family claimed that hospital staff overlooked signs that the woman was experiencing heart failure when she came to the emergency room with difficulty breathing and a known medical history of diabetes and kidney failure. In fact, the emergency staff allegedly gave the woman a narcotic and released her. She was in the hospital waiting room when she collapsed from suffering diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication of diabetes, which can be triggered by a heart attack.

All medical professionals have an obligation to provide patients with competent care. In Maryland, medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers injury, harm or death as the result of a medical professional’s neglect, omission or error in judgment. In order to establish medical malpractice, the patient has the burden to show that the medical professional violated the accepted standard of care, and that this violation was a direct and proximate cause of the injury. The standard of care refers to the level of care that a prudent medical professional in the same specialty would have used under the same or similar circumstances. In the aforementioned case, the plaintiffs alleged that the medical professionals violated the standard of care when instead of providing the patient with the necessary screening tests, they gave her narcotic pain medications, which further suppressed her respiratory system and discharged her from the hospital.
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