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Articles Posted in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

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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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Generally, a plaintiff alleging a healthcare provider should be held liable for medical malpractice under Maryland law must provide a report from a medical expert to prove the healthcare provider’s liability. The plaintiff must not only produce an expert report on the issue of causation but must also produce the report within the time frame set forth by the court; otherwise, it could adversely affect the plaintiff’s right to recover damages. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which the court granted judgment in favor of the defendant due to the plaintiff’s failure to produce a timely expert report.  If you suffered harm because of incompetently rendered medical treatment, it is advisable to retain a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in producing the evidence needed to prove liability.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff began receiving chiropractic services at the defendant healthcare center following a car accident. The chiropractic treatments ultimately damaged a spinal cord stimulator that had previously been implanted in the plaintiff’s neck. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. Pursuant to the scheduling order issued by the court, the plaintiff designated an expert witness in February 2018.

Allegedly, after the plaintiff’s expert was deposed in May 2018, however, it was revealed the expert could not opine on the issue of causation. The plaintiff, therefore, amended her expert witness designation to add a second expert. The defendant filed a motion to strike the designation of the second expert as untimely, and the court granted the motion, barring the plaintiff’s second expert from testifying at trial. As such, during the trial, the plaintiff did not present expert testimony on the issue of causation, and the court granted judgment in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff then appealed the trial court’s decision to preclude the testimony of her second expert. Continue Reading

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In Maryland medical malpractice cases, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm. In cases in which the plaintiff alleges the defendant’s negligence caused the wrongful death due of a loved one, however, the defendant may be able to argue that the loss of chance doctrine operates to bar the recovery of compensation. The loss of chance doctrine is not always applicable, however, as discussed in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which the court explained the doctrine’s parameters. If you lost a loved one due to negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to examine what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant doctor in February 2013, with complaints of pain in his tongue. The defendant performed a scrape biopsy, which did not indicate cancerous cells were present, but the pathologist noted that the sample was clinically suspicious and may not represent the entire lesion. No further actions were taken at that time, however. In May 2014, the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant a second time, and the defendant recommended an excisional biopsy, which was performed in June. The second biopsy revealed that the plaintiff’s decedent was suffering from invasive squamous cell cancer. The plaintiff’s decedent underwent aggressive treatment but ultimately passed away due to the cancer.

It is alleged that the plaintiff failed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff’s decedent in February 2013 caused the decedent’s harm. Specifically, the lawsuit set forth survival and wrongful death claims. At trial, the defendant filed a motion for judgment at the close of the plaintiff’s case, arguing that the loss of chance doctrine barred the plaintiff’s claims. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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Maryland has specific laws regarding the procedures a person must comply with in the pursuit of damages for medical malpractice. If an injured party fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of the claim. However, a failure to abide by the proper procedure does not result in an automatic dismissal. Recently, a Maryland court discussed what a defendant must establish to show that a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit should be dismissed due to the failure to abide by procedure in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he suffered harm because of malpractice committed in a rehabilitation facility. If you were harmed by the inadequate medical treatment, you might be owed compensation, and it is prudent to speak to a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what steps you must take to protect your rights.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant rehabilitation facility following hip replacement surgery. He subsequently developed pressure ulcers in multiple locations due to the defendant’s negligence and ultimately required an amputation of his right leg below the knee. The plaintiff instituted his medical malpractice action against the defendant by filing a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (the Office) as required under Maryland law.

The law also requires that after a claim is filed with the Office, the parties must file a certificate of a qualified expert and an attesting report, after which a party can waive the right to arbitration with the office. After arbitration is waived, the plaintiff must file a complaint in the civil courts within 60 days. In this case, however, the plaintiff did not file the complaint until five months after the 60 day period had run. Thus, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint as untimely. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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