Articles Posted in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

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Although the majority of Maryland medical malpractice cases allege that a patient suffered harm because of negligent care, suits for harm caused by medical providers are not limited to malpractice claims. In most cases, however, even if a plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges the violation of a statute or regulatory standard pertaining to medical treatment, the plaintiff will have suffered harm due to medical errors as well. Thus, it is critical for anyone who suffered damages due to medical treatment to retain an experienced attorney who will assert the proper claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s claims alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), finding that the claims actually alleged medical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care in a hospital, you should consult a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident, after which he was transferred to the defendant hospital. He was admitted, intubated, received blood transfusions, and underwent diagnostic tests and a surgical procedure. He remained in the hospital for eleven days. During that time, he required amputation of both legs. The plaintiff ultimately brought a suit against the defendant, alleging it violated EMTALA by neglecting to properly screen him or stabilize his condition. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.

Violation of EMTALA Versus Medical Malpractice

On appeal, the court affirmed. The court explained that the EMTALA was enacted to prevent hospitals from dumping patients, which is described as either refusing to provide patients who are unable to pay with emergency medical treatment or transferring them before they are in a stabilized condition. Thus, the EMTALA requires hospitals to screen a person to determine whether he or she is suffering from an emergency medical condition and if so, to stabilize the person’s condition in certain circumstances, as is necessary to secure the person’s transfer without allowing the condition to further deteriorate. 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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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

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In most medical malpractice cases filed in Maryland it is critical for the plaintiff to present expert testimony to establish that the defendant care provider is liable for the plaintiff’s harm. In many cases, the defendant will try to argue that the plaintiff’s expert is not qualified to offer an opinion on the disputed issues, or that the expert failed to establish that the defendant deviated from the standard of care, in an effort to preclude the expert from testifying at trial. If a defendant does not properly preserve its objection to a plaintiff’s expert’s testimony, however, the defendant may waive the right to object. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland overturned a trial court ruling a plaintiff’s expert could not testify at trial. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is critical to retain a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to fight to protect your interests.

Procedural History of the Case 

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant due to the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff with oral candidiasis in a timely manner. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying on the grounds that the expert did not define the applicable standard of care during his deposition. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s case, as the doctor that was prohibited from testifying was the plaintiff’s only expert witness. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding her expert’s testimony.

Expert Qualifications in a Medical Malpractice Case

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-415(h), certain objections are waived if they are not made during a deposition. For example, objections to the competency of a witness, or the relevance or materiality of testimony are waived if they are not made during a deposition, and an objection would enable the opposing party to remove or eliminate the grounds for the objection. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to object to the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony during his deposition and therefore waived the right to object. Continue Reading

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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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Under Maryland law, filing a certificate from a health care provider is a prerequisite to any plaintiff wishing to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against a board-certified health care provider. Not only must the plaintiff file a certificate, but also the certificate must be from a provider in the same specialty as the defendant or a related specialty. In a recent malpractice case against a transplant surgeon, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland evaluated the specifics of the certificate requirement, including who is qualified to issue the certificate. If you sustained damages due to a negligently performed surgery, it is critical to retain an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing damages from the provider that caused your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from end-stage kidney disease. As a result, she obtained a kidney transplant at the defendant hospital. The surgery was performed by the defendant doctor, who was a board-certified surgeon specializing in kidney transplantation. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, asserting that the defendant doctor departed from the applicable standard of care by transplanting an incompatible kidney in the plaintiff.

Reportedly, prior to filing her lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a certificate and report from a licensed nurse practitioner who was certified in coordinating clinical transplants. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the Maryland requirement that a plaintiff must file a certificate from a health care provider in the same field as the defendant prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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In Maryland, the essential elements of a medical malpractice claim are a breach of the applicable standard of care and harm caused by the breach. Thus, even if a physician commits an egregious act, it may not be considered malpractice if the plaintiff cannot establish the elements required to impose liability on the physician. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the U.S. District Court of Maryland ruled that although a doctor who engages in a sexual relationship with a patient commits an ethical violation, the violation in and of itself is not sufficient to sustain a malpractice claim. If you were harmed by inappropriate medical care, it is important to speak with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

The plaintiff worked as an office manager for the defendant physician at the defendant medical practice. The plaintiff became ill, after which the defendant began treating the plaintiff. Throughout her illness, the defendant physician treated the plaintiff, including attempting a surgical repair of a hernia and repairing a surgical incision. On several occasions, the defendant physician demanded sexual intercourse as payment for his medical services. The plaintiff was ultimately terminated, after which she filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting medical malpractice, negligent supervision, and sexual harassment claims. The defendants filed motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Ethical Violations May Not Constitute Medical Malpractice

With regard to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, the court stated that under Maryland law, it is axiomatic that a plaintiff alleging malpractice must prove the applicable standard of care, a departure from the standard, and harm caused by the departure. The court noted that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims arose out of the defendant physician’s demands that she exchange sexual favors as a payment for medical services, on occasions when sexual intercourse was prohibited due to her diminished health.

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In the majority of medical malpractice cases pursued in Maryland, both the plaintiff and the defendant will need to retain one or more experts to opine as to whether the expert deviated from the standard of care. If either party’s expert is not qualified, however, the party may be precluded from presenting the expert’s testimony at trial. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed the limitations of an expert’s qualification to opine on treatment related to his or her specialty in a medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm because of negligent medical care, it is wise to speak with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you may need to prove liability for your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical repair of an aortic aneurysm and a bypass of the right coronary artery. She went to a rehabilitation facility for one month following her surgery, after which she was discharged home. A few weeks later, she underwent an evaluation for blood pressure and other health issues with a certified nurse practitioner at a cardiology practice. During the appointment, the plaintiff’s decedent reported she was experiencing vomiting, weight loss, and nausea. Two days later, however, she was evaluated by the doctor who performed her surgery, who stated that she was not experiencing any complications.

It is alleged that at a subsequent follow-up with a second cardiologist, she again reported vomiting and other issues. The second cardiologist discontinued three of the plaintiff’s decedent’s medications due to her ongoing symptoms. She subsequently developed a pericardial effusion and congestive heart failure. She died shortly after that from sepsis of an unknown origin. Before her death, it was suspected that the plaintiff’s decedent was suffering from mesenteric ischemia, but an autopsy did not reveal any evidence of the condition. Continue Reading

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There is nothing more devastating than realizing your newborn has suffered a preventable birth injury. Aside from the stress of dealing with such an injury, you probably have a lot of questions. If your child has sustained a serious birth injury because of a medical professional’s neglect or mistake, you might be able to obtain compensation. Birth injury cases are among the most complex areas of medical malpractice law, but you can rest assured that our hard-working Baltimore birth injury lawyers know how to effectively advocate for your rights.

Recently, a Baltimore jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case in which the defendant was accused of causing a severe birth injury in 2014. The lawsuit arose from allegations that medical professionals provided a 16-year-old mother with inaccurate dire predictions about the possible outcome of the birth after she began experiencing preeclampsia. Facing that prognosis, which the mother’s lawyers say was incorrect; the teen underwent an unmonitored vaginal delivery when she should have instead had a C-section. This led to the newborn daughter suffering long lasting brain injuries from a lack of oxygen. In fact, the baby was born with a hypoxic brain injury, which caused cerebral palsy. She cannot walk, must rely on a feeding tube, and requires round-the-clock care.

Birth injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, but when these injuries are caused by medical negligence or careless errors made by a medical professional, you have the legal right to hold that medical professional accountable through a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional injures a patient by failing to act in accordance with the standard of care. The standard of care denotes the level of care that a reasonably competent doctor would have used in the same situation. You should be aware that the standard of care differs in each situation based on a number of factors including the patient’s medical history, age, condition being treated and more.

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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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