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Articles Posted in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

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In Maryland, a plaintiff who is injured by a negligent doctor has the right to pursue damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit. Prior to pursuing such claims, though, plaintiffs must meet certain requirements imposed by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA), and if they do not, they may waive the right to recover damages. The implications of failing to comply with the HCMCA was the topic of a recent Maryland opinion issued in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims as to one of the defendants. If you sustained damages due to a negligent care provider, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent treated with the defendant neurologists, twelve in total, who failed to diagnose a brain abscess that ultimately cost the decedent her life. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing they were liable for the decedent’s death. One defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against her on the grounds that the plaintiff never filed a claim against her in Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) as demanded by the HCMCA. The court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Penalties for Failing to Comply with the HCMCA

The Maryland courts have repeatedly ruled that the requirements imposed by the HCMCA are conditions that must be fulfilled prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Specifically, a plaintiff must file a statement of claim and certificate of qualified expert against a health care provider in the HCADRO before pursuing civil claims. Additionally, a plaintiff has to exhaust state arbitration remedies as a condition to filing a civil lawsuit in federal or state court. If a plaintiff files a medical malpractice action without fulfilling these requirements, it must be dismissed. Continue Reading

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Generally, a plaintiff has the right to determine where to file a lawsuit, and as long as jurisdictional requirements are met, the plaintiff’s choice will not be disturbed. There are exceptions, however, that will allow a court to transfer a case to another venue, despite the plaintiff’s protests. Recently, a Maryland court discussed the grounds for requesting a change of venue in a ruling issued in a medical malpractice case. If you or someone you love suffered harm due to the incompetence of a doctor, you may be owed damages, and it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to assess your options.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff mother was treated at the defendant medical center during her pregnancy. The plaintiff child suffered severe injuries at birth, and the mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant on his behalf in Baltimore City. The defendant filed a motion to transfer venue to Baltimore County on the grounds of forum non-conveniens.  The court granted the motion. The plaintiff then appealed, arguing that the court abused its discretion in granting the motion. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed.

Grounds for Granted a Change of Venue

Pursuant to the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure, a court can transfer any case to another court where the matter may have been brought if the transfer is for the convenience of the witnesses and parties. Notably, a court may transfer a matter to another venue even if the case was brought in a proper venue. The plaintiff’s choice of venue is given deference, but the right to choose where a matter is heard is not an absolute privilege.  Thus, the court must weigh the interests of justice, which is comprised of public and private interests, and the convenience of the parties, in determining whether a transfer of venue is appropriate. Continue Reading

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Many medical facilities throughout Maryland are funded by the federal government. A person who suffers harm due to incompetent medical care at a federal facility, therefore, will likely file any medical malpractice claims in federal court naming the federal government as the defendant. Plaintiffs pursuing claims for medical negligence in the federal arena must nonetheless comply with Maryland’s requirements regarding malpractice claims, otherwise they may waive the right to recover damages, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a Maryland court. If you were harmed by inadequate medical treatment in a federal facility, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Care

It is reported that the plaintiff sought treatment at a hospital operated by the defendant federal government for a pilonidal cyst. He underwent a procedure to remove the cyst that was performed by the defendant’s physicians, after which he suffered ongoing discomfort and pain. He then filed an administrative claim with the defendant in which he stated his allegations regarding his negligent care. The defendant denied his claim, and he filed a lawsuit against the defendant under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), asserting medical negligence claims.

It is alleged that the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff failed to comply with Maryland’s statutory requirements for pursuing a medical negligence claim. The court agreed and ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. Continue Reading

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Defendants in medical malpractice cases usually will not admit liability. Instead, in many instances, they will seek to have the claims against them dismissed. To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must set forth certain factual allegations in the initial pleading and then obtain the evidence needed to support those assertions via discovery. A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case that files a complaint that meets the level of specificity required to pursue claims, though, should be permitted to engage in discovery before the court considers dismissing his or her case. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland ruling, in which the defendant ophthalmologist asked the court to grant summary judgment before any meaningful discovery had been conducted. If you were harmed by a negligent ophthalmologist, it is prudent to speak to a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is alleged that the defendant ophthalmologist diagnosed the plaintiff with a cataract in his right eye, which was described as mature. Initially, the defendant recommended surgical removal of the cataract, but he later determined that the plaintiff was not an appropriate surgical candidate. The plaintiff sought treatment over the next year but did not have another appointment until approximately fourteen months after his initial diagnosis. He had numerous treatment appointments over the next year and a half, during which the vision in his right eye decreased. At each appointment, the defendant advised he was not a surgical candidate.

Reportedly, he then underwent a surgery that was performed by another practitioner. The procedure restored his vision to 20/20. He filed a federal lawsuit against the defendant, alleging medical negligence and other claims. The defendant filed a motion that was deemed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice claims are generally more complex than other matters, and those asserted against employees of the federal government are especially complicated. Thus, plaintiffs pursuing medical negligence cases against federally employed defendants must take special care to follow proper procedures; otherwise, their claims may be terminated. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland ruling, in which a pro se plaintiff’s claims against a doctor were dismissed due to his failure to abide by state and federal law in filing his lawsuit. If you were injured by the incompetence of a health care provider, it is advisable to meet with a practiced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was in a federal facility, received inadequate medical care from the defendant doctors who worked at the facility despite his repeated requests. He filed numerous claims against the defendants in a federal lawsuit, including medical malpractice claims. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought and received an extension but ultimately failed to file a response to the motion. The court, upon reviewing the pleadings, found in favor of the defendants and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Medical Malpractice Claims Against Agents of the Federal Government

The court explained that, with regards to suits against the federal government, the United States is protected from liability via the doctrine of sovereign immunity, except where it has explicitly waived its immunity to suit. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) expressly waives the sovereign immunity of the United States for specific torts committed by its employees. 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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Many people who live in Maryland obtain care from facilities owned or funded by the State of Maryland. A patient that suffers harm due to the careless acts of a practitioner working in a State medical center may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, but in addition to proving the elements of a negligence claim, the patient must also prove that the provider is not immune under the Maryland Torts Claim Act (MTCA). Recently, a Maryland court discussed the plaintiff’s burden in a medical malpractice claim against a doctor employed by the State, ultimately determining the plaintiff had set forth sufficient evidence to proceed. If you were harmed by a careless doctor at a State-owned facility, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent, who was an inmate with the Maryland Department of Corrections, had a long-standing history of suicidal ideation and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During his incarceration, he was evaluated by a psychiatrist and diagnosed with personality, schizoaffective, and psychotic disorders and placed on suicide watch. He was then transferred to another facility where he was examined and treated by the two defendant psychiatrists.

Reportedly, the defendants ultimately determined that the plaintiff would remain stable if he took his medication and directed that he be transferred to a less restrictive housing tier, despite the fact that he was noncompliant, incommunicative, and physically immobile due to his mental health issues. He subsequently died by suicide. The lawsuit was filed against the defendants, alleging they committed medical malpractice. The defendants moved to dismiss the claims. Continue Reading

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Maryland medical malpractice claims typically hinge on the strength of the plaintiff’s medical expert’s opinion. If a plaintiff’s expert is precluded from testifying, therefore, it is unlikely that the plaintiff will be able to recover any damages. However, only certain parties are permitted to offer expert testimony and proposed experts who do not possess the requisite qualifications may be barred from offering testimony. This was illustrated in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff was reversed after the trial court ruled the plaintiff’s expert should have been barred from testifying. If you sustained harm due to an improperly performed medical procedure, you should speak to a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you need to recover compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Expert

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s husband died due to complications following a surgical procedure that the defendant performed. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant and filed a certificate of a qualified expert. The certificate set forth that the expert would testify that the defendant breached the standard of care, which led to the plaintiff’s husband’s death, and that no more than twenty percent of the expert’s activities each year were related to providing expert testimony, as required under Maryland law.

Reportedly, during discovery, the defendant sought documentation regarding the expert’s activities and income in order to determine whether he was in compliance with Maryland’s twenty percent rule. The expert denied that he kept documentation that specifically monitored his activities but again verified his compliance with the rule. During the trial, the defendant objected to the plaintiff calling her expert due to his failure to prove compliance with the twenty percent rule. The court allowed the expert to testify, but following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, reconsidered and issued a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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Federal law generally prohibits the disclosure of a patient’s protected health information without the patient’s consent. In certain instances, however, a patient’s acts may constitute a waiver of the right to object to other parties obtaining the patient’s health information. For example, if a patient files a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical provider, thereby placing the patient’s health at issue, the courts may allow the provider to obtain information from other parties that treated the patient, even if the patient does not grant permission. This was demonstrated in a recent federal case. If you were hurt by the incompetence of a doctor or nurse, it is advisable to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess whether you may have a viable claim for damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was admitted to the intensive care burn unit of the defendant hospital with symptoms of a serious skin infection. She ultimately lost vision in both of her eyes due to the defendant’s employee’s failure to provide her with proper care. She then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant.

Allegedly, during the course of discovery, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to allow it to obtain information from numerous providers that treated the plaintiff without engaging in the formal discovery process. In other words, the defendant’s attorney wished to contact them without the use of a subpoena or discovery request. The plaintiff objected, arguing that it would violate her doctor-patient relationships. Continue Reading

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In Maryland, a party alleging a doctor committed medical malpractice generally must produce proof of the allegedly tortious acts by way of an expert report. In some instances, though, when the act committed by a doctor is so obviously egregious, expert testimony is not required. Recently, a Maryland court addressed the unique issue of whether an expert opinion is needed to establish medical malpractice of a physician that is not named as a party when the defendant doctor alleges that the non-party physician is liable for the plaintiff’s harm. If you were hurt by the negligent acts of your care provider, it is important to understand what evidence you must produce to prove liability. Therefore, you should consult a knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.

Factual History

Allegedly, the plaintiff was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2011. While a cancerous tumor was removed from his kidney by the defendant urologist, a nearby lymph node that also was cancerous was not removed. The plaintiff then was treated by the defendant oncologist from 2011 through 2015, who also did not remove the cancerous node but provided chemotherapy, which shrunk the node. The plaintiff’s CT scans were regularly reviewed by the two defendant radiologists throughout the course of his treatment. The defendant radiologists did not report any lymphadenopathy but noted the scans lacked contrast, which made them difficult to evaluate.

It is reported that the plaintiff was ultimately advised that the node was cancerous and could not be removed. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, but prior to trial dismissed the claims as to the defendant urologist and oncologist. At trial, the defendant radiologists argued that the defendant urologist and oncologist were ultimately to blame for the plaintiff’s harm, but did not provide any expert testimony supporting their assertions. The jury ultimately determined that the dismissed defendants were liable, after which the plaintiff moved for a new trial. His motion was denied, and he appealed. The court of appeals reversed the trial court ruling, after which the defendants appealed. Continue Reading

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