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Articles Posted in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

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Notwithstanding claims asserted under the Federal Tort Claims Act, medical malpractice claims are typically pursued in state court. In some instances, however, a plaintiff will set forth claims that sound in medical malpractice in a lawsuit that is filed in federal court and largely asserts federal claims. While the federal courts generally are permitted to exercise jurisdiction over state medical malpractice claims, they typically decline to do so. This was illustrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit, which included both federal claims and state medical malpractice claims in its entirety. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, you might be able to pursue claims for damages from your provider, and you should consult a Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess your options for seeking compensation.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that while the plaintiff was staying in a long-term facility operated by the defendant, he sustained a bladder and urinary tract infection. He subsequently suffered complications due to the infection and had to be hospitalized due to blood clots in his bladder. He ultimately filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting multiple federal claims, as well as state medical malpractice claims. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, arguing that the plaintiff failed to set forth facts, that if proven, would allow him to recover under any theory of liability. The court granted the defendant’s motion.

A Federal Court’s Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

In dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint, the court expressly declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his medical negligence allegations. The court explained that, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court could decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a state law claim if it has dismissed all of the related claims over which it had original jurisdiction. Continue Reading

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Some people harmed by incompetent medical care wish to seek compensation from their providers but are reluctant to hire an attorney due to misapprehensions regarding the cost of legal representation. Medical malpractice cases are typically complex, however, and involve an intricate interplay of legal and factual issues. As such, people who attempt to pursue medical malpractice claims without the assistance of an attorney may unknowingly fail to take the actions necessary to preserve their rights. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland opinion issued in a case in which the plaintiff’s convoluted complaint that included medical malpractice claims and other assertions was ultimately dismissed. If you were injured due to the reckless acts of a physician, it is in your best interest to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was hospitalized, after which he was transferred to the defendant’s facility, a treatment center that offered patients physical rehabilitation and medical services. He was admitted to the facility for approximately six months. He was then involuntarily discharged for failing to make payments for services rendered by the defendant. He subsequently filed a pro se lawsuit against the defendant, asserting numerous claims sounding in civil rights violations, discrimination, and medical malpractice. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, arguing that he failed to set forth allegations sufficient to establish any plausible claim for relief. Alternatively, the defendant argued that two of the plaintiff’s claims, which sounded in malpractice, must be dismissed because he did not exhaust his administrative procedures as required under the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act.

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Many medical facilities are funded and operated by the federal government. Patients who suffer harm due to incompetent care rendered in such a facility may be able to recover damages, but they typically must comply with the requirements imposed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), as their claims will ultimately be pursued against the federal government. The duties that arise out of the FTCA are strictly construed, and the failure to abide by such obligations may be fatal to a plaintiff’s claim. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of a health care provider, it is sensible to consult a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer promptly to prevent the inadvertent waiver of your right to recover damages.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the decedent underwent treatment at a federally funded hospital. He subsequently died due to complications from liver cancer. The plaintiff, the decedent’s wife, filed a lawsuit against the federal government, seeking damages for the decedent’s death, pursuant to the FTCA. The plaintiff alleged, in part, that the defendant’s doctors negligently failed to screen the decedent for liver cancer. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Notice Requirements Under the FTCA

After reviewing the pleadings and evidence of record, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that absent a waiver, the United States is shielded from liability in civil lawsuits via sovereign immunity. The FTCA acts as a waiver of such immunity but only allows parties to pursue claims against the government if they comply with certain terms and conditions.

While the government consents to suits seeking damages for the harm caused by its employees while acting in the scope of their employment, such claims are barred unless they are presented to the appropriate federal agency, in writing, within two years of the date when the claim accrues.  The court elaborated that a claim accrues when the plaintiff either knows or reasonably should know of both the harm suffered and the cause of the harm. In the subject case, the trial court determined that the plaintiff’s claims accrued in 2011, but she failed to file her administrative tort claim until 2014. Thus, her claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Continue Reading

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It is not uncommon for people treated in federal facilities to suffer harm due to incompetent medical care. While people injured by the medical negligence of federal employees have the right to pursue damages, they generally must comply with the rules set forth under the Federal Tort Claims Act (the FTCA) and any other applicable laws; otherwise, their claims may be dismissed. This was explained in a recent ruling in which a Maryland court illustrated the pre-requisites for pursuing medical malpractice claims in federal court. If you suffered damages due to the carelessness of your treatment provider, it is advisable to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your options for pursuing compensation.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who lived in a federal facility, fell from his bed and injured his leg. He visited the medical department, where he was examined and underwent an x-ray. He was informed that his x-ray did not indicate any injuries to his leg and knee and was directed to exercise. A month later, he returned to the medical center as his pain had increased to the point where he could no longer walk but was merely diagnosed with a muscle strain.

Allegedly, an additional x-ray taken approximately nine months after his fall indicated he suffered from avascular necrosis in his right hip and would need to undergo a hip replacement. He then filed a lawsuit against his treatment providers and the federal government, asserting, among other things, medical malpractice claims under the FTCA. The defendants moved to dismiss the claims, arguing that the plaintiff failed to comply with the proper procedure for pursuing such claims. Continue Reading

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In Maryland, there are statutory procedural requirements parties must comply with prior to pursuing medical malpractice claims. People that fail to abide by the rules may be denied the right to seek damages from their medical providers. Recently, a Maryland court addressed the issue of whether the dismissal of a medical malpractice case was appropriate where a plaintiff fulfilled his duties as to some, but not all, of the claims he asserted. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is advisable to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer promptly to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated by the defendants for various medical conditions. In 2010, he tested positive for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. He was not treated for hepatitis C for two years after his diagnosis, however, and believed that his treatment for hepatitis B was inadequate. Thus, he filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the care they provided fell below the applicable standard. The defendants then filed motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint alleging, in part, that the plaintiff should not be permitted to proceed on the claims related to the treatment of his hepatitis B, as he failed to comply with the procedural requirements established by Maryland law.

Requirements Under the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA)

In Maryland, all lawsuits and claims against a health care provider for harm caused by medical negligence must be pursued in accordance with the HCMCA. There are several conditions a plaintiff must comply with prior to filing a medical malpractice claim. First, they must file a certificate of a qualified expert with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), setting forth the applicable standard of care and the manner in which the standard was breached. Continue Reading

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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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