Articles Posted in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

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Anesthesiologists are vital to ensuring that surgery is safe. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an anesthesiologist’s error, you could have a claim for medical malpractice against the anesthesiologist. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys will make every effort to get you the monetary damages you rightfully deserve.

A divided Florida Supreme Court recently ruled against an anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice claim that involved a female who lost her life while undergoing surgery for a tumor in her skull. In a 4-3 decision, the court overturned an earlier verdict for the anesthesiologist who performed a pre-anesthesia evaluation of the patient. According to the complaint filed by the patient’s husband, the anesthesiologist allegedly failed to order a second electrocardiogram after the first one highlighted irregular results and failed to report these irregular lab results to the surgeon. The Supreme Court rejected the lower court’s rationale that let the anesthesiologist off the hook because he was not the “primary cause” of the patient’s death. Rather, the Supreme Court noted that a doctor can be the proximate cause of a patient’s harm even if he or she is not the primary cause of that harm. While this is a Florida case, causation is an important element of all Maryland malpractice cases as well.

Anesthesiologist Errors Leading to Malpractice

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, anesthesiologists are committed to the “relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.” Part of an anesthesiologist’s job is to make sure patients undergoing surgery do not feel pain during the operation. This involves evaluating a patient before surgery to make sure the amount and type of anesthetic being administered is safe for the patient.

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When you visit the doctor, you trust that you will get proper care. Sadly, every year a number of people in Maryland and throughout the US are injured because of medical negligence. In the most serious of cases, medical professionals make fatal mistakes that kill patients and leave behind loved ones who are completely devastated. If you were hurt or lost a loved one and you believe it was because of medical malpractice, let our experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers help. At Arfaa Law Group, we understand the nuances of medical malpractice law – including the strict procedural requirements that must be met in order to file and proceed with your claim.

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently struck down a law requiring a team of physicians to assess medical malpractice claims before they go to court. Specifically, the law used to give the team of physicians nine months to evaluate a medical malpractice lawsuit and then provide an opinion about whether the claim had merit. That opinion could later be used as evidence at trial. The court held that the law violated the section 14 of the state’s constitution, which states that every individual has access to the justice system without delay. In addition, the court noted that the law went against the constitutional prohibition against special legislation as it was created to benefit medical professionals and no such special protection exists for any other type of tort defendant.

Maryland “Certificate of Merit” Requirement

While Kentucky may no longer require a plaintiff’s case to be reviewed before filing in court, Maryland law still does. Maryland law mandates that a medical doctor sign off on a medical malpractice lawsuit. In fact, within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, a Maryland plaintiff is required to file a certificate of merit from a qualified medical expert or a licensed or certified professional.

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Oftentimes, when a person sustains a medical injury, multiple parties are to blame. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a healthcare provider’s negligence, you need skilled legal counsel to review your case to identify any and all potentially responsible parties. Medical malpractice cases that have multiple defendants are not only incredibly complex; they require an enormous amount of paperwork so having an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorney is vital to your case.

Medical Malpractice

In order to understand the concept of joint and several liability, you must first understand the basics of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician or other healthcare provider that departs from the generally accepted standards of practice in the medical community and is the direct cause of injury or death to a patient. As a practical matter, medical malpractice claims are civil claims that are filed against healthcare providers whose negligence caused harm to a patient.

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A misdiagnosis can have severe and long-term consequences for a patient. If you have been hurt because a medical professional misdiagnosed your condition, you may be able to seek compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our diligent Baltimore misdiagnosis attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your claim.

A Maryland appellate panel has affirmed the mid-trial dismissal of a lawsuit accusing a Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor of misdiagnosing a woman with lung cancer instead of the rare disease she firmly believed she had contracted, and settling a quarrel over when the three-year statute of limitations began to run.

The facts of the case are as follows. M.M., an Arizona resident, contracted Coccidioidomycosis (commonly known as “Cocci” or “Valley Fever”) – a disease caused by a fungus germane to the semi arid areas of the southwestern states. In 2008, M.M. believed she experienced symptoms consistent with a Cocci infection. That same year, she and her husband relocated to Maryland where she sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her doctor there stated that he believed her symptoms were more likely due to lung cancer rather than Cocci. In fact, the doctor said there was a 90 percent chance that M.M. had lung cancer and stated the only way to treat it was to conduct a partial lung lobotomy. In 2009, a portion of M.M.’s lung was removed. It was later confirmed that M.M., in fact, did have a Cocci infection.

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If you believe that you have been a victim of a medical professional’s mistake, you need a seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice attorney who will fight to get you the best possible result. Determining whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim is not easy, but having a skilled attorney on your side can make a huge difference in your case.Last month, Maryland’s highest court tossed a $2.3 million jury verdict in a lawsuit accusing a psychiatrist and a hospital of improperly discharging a mental health patient who committed suicide on the following day, reasoning that a doctor who discharges an involuntarily admitted patient in good faith is immune from civil liability.

The Maryland Mental Health Law provides criteria for the involuntary admission of an individual to a mental health facility and a process for evaluating whether the individual meets those criteria. Hospitals, as well as their employees, have civil and criminal immunity when they follow the process in good faith. The process starts with the initiation application for involuntary admission and concludes upon a hearing officer’s decision whether to admit or release that person. If the doctor followed statutory criteria and made the decision to release an individual in good faith, that decision cannot form the basis of a jury verdict for medical malpractice.

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When you seek medical attention of any kind, you expect to receive competent care. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. At Arfaa Law Group, our skilled Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys understand this area of law and can help you explore your legal rights and options.

Medical malpractice laws are always changing, and it is imperative for your attorney to be aware of legal developments that may affect your case. Consider the following. A pending decision by Maryland’s highest court could change the standard that jurors will be instructed to use in assessing these cases.

For over a century, negligence in Maryland medical malpractice cases has been guided by the “reasonably competent” physician standard of care – a standard of which juries and judges are informed through expert testimony. However, in the case of Armacost v. Davis, a Baltimore County Court judge permitted jurors to also consider what a layperson would deem reasonable under the circumstances.

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If you or a member of your family has been harmed by a medical professional’s negligence, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice attorney who can help. At Arfaa Law Group, not only do we understand how to navigate complex medical malpractice cases, but also we understand the procedural rules that must be followed in these cases. With years of experience, we can help your family and you pursue the compensation you need to move on with your life after a medical injury.

Medical malpractice litigation generally requires using expert witnesses. These witnesses are necessary to help the jury understand medical issues that may be at issue in a malpractice trial. In Maryland, expert testimony may be admitted if the court decides that the testimony will help the trier of fact (either the judge or the jury) understand the evidence or determine a fact at issue in the case.

Under Maryland law, an expert in a malpractice claim opining on the “standard of care” cannot devote in excess of 20 percent of their professional activities to courtroom testimony. Put simply, you cannot call as a witness on the standard of care anyone who spends more than one day a week out of five working as an expert witness. The idea behind this rule is to discourage the use of “professional experts” or so-called “hired gun” doctors who simply travel to testify as opposed to seeing patients. While the principle makes sense, the 20% requirement may seem arbitrary to some.

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Cancer is the dreaded ‘c’ word that no patient wants to hear. If caught early enough, patients can often beat cancer and resume their normal lives. If it is not diagnosed in a timely manner, however, the consequences can be devastating. If you or someone close to you was harmed due to a physician’s failure to diagnose cancer, it is imperative to reach out to a skilled Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney who can assess the merits of your case.

A Baltimore jury recently awarded a hefty damages sum to the family of a man who died of colon cancer after his primary care physician failed to follow up on an unexplained case of anemia, which the family claims could have led to an earlier cancer diagnosis. The 55-year-old patient died from colon cancer 15 months after it was finally diagnosed.

The case at hand would be considered a ‘failure to diagnose’ case. A failure to diagnose is when a doctor misses the connection between a patient’s symptoms and their medical condition. The result is that no diagnosis is made, and the patient takes no course of treatment. A physician’s failure to diagnose can lead to further injuries and even death to a patient. According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine, most Americans will get a late or wrong diagnosis at least once in their lives.

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If you or someone close to you has been hurt because of a medical professional’s carelessness, error, or wrongdoing, our diligent Baltimore health care malpractice attorneys can help. At Arfaa Law Group, we understand the nuances of this area of the law and can put our knowledge to use in your case. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns at every step of the way.

Medical malpractice cases in Maryland and across the United States are about establishing fault on the part of a medical professional. In litigation, there are many tactics that the plaintiff and defense can use to build their case. The Court of Appeals of Maryland, Maryland’s highest court, recently had to decide if evidence regarding the negligence of several non-parties should have been admitted at trial. The court ultimately held that the negligence of the non-parties was properly admitted because it was essential to give the defendant physician a fair trial. Put another way, the defendant, who was generally denying malpractice in a claim, could present evidence of a non-party’s negligence and causation as an affirmative defense.

In the case at hand, a man died as a result of a fatal stroke that he suffered in 2010. The man’s estate and widow filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant radiologist and three subsequent treating physicians, claiming that their negligence led to the man suffering the stroke. However, before the trial, each of the other named defendants settled the case outside court. Thus, the case was only against one remaining defendant.

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If you or someone close to you has been harmed by a physician’s negligence in a hospital setting, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore hospital negligence attorneys understand how to navigate these types of claims and can put our knowledge to use in your case. You can rest assured that we will scrutinize the facts of your case and come up with a strategy to effectively respond to any motions for summary judgment that you may face in the process.

Under Maryland law, a party is entitled to summary judgment only when there is “no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Put another way, the proponent of summary judgment must make a prima facie showing of their entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating the absence of any material issues of fact in the case. Essentially, summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party establishes that the opposing party cannot win, even if all credibility conflicts are resolved in the opposing party’s favor. For instance, if a jurisdiction requires the plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim to produce an expert witness to establish the case, summary judgment may be proper if a plaintiff cannot produce a qualified expert.

This is actually what happened in the case of Hannon, et al. v. Mercy Medical Center, in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the trial court granting summary judgment to the defendants in a Maryland medical malpractice case, prior to the scheduled trial, holding that the plaintiff failed to secure a medical expert to testify on their behalf during trial. This was sufficient reason for the trial court to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.