Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Published on:

Medical malpractice cases arising out of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient often involve complicated issues and conflicting positions regarding what harm the patient sustained due to the delay in receiving a proper diagnosis. Thus, in cases in which the patient alleges a doctor committed malpractice by failing to diagnose the patient, expert testimony is needed to establish the doctor’s liability and the patient’s harm. In a recent case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered harm due to her doctor’s failure to diagnose breast cancer, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland discussed the scope of expert testimony permitted. If you sustained damages due to a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to hold your care provider liable for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and the Underlying Trial

Allegedly, the plaintiff noticed a lump in her right breast, which she reported to the defendant, her gynecologist. She underwent diagnostic testing, which reportedly revealed no evidence of malignancy. The plaintiff continued to treat with the defendant, who repeatedly advised her that the lump was nothing to worry about. In 2012, the plaintiff underwent a biopsy, which revealed that she had cancer in her right breast. She subsequently underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She then sued the defendant for medical malpractice, arguing that the defendant breached the standard of care by failing to diagnose her cancer in a timely manner.

Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, and the court issued an opinion reversing the verdict and remanding the case for further proceedings. Following the second trial, the plaintiff appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in precluding testimony from the plaintiff’s expert witness. Continue Reading

Published on:

Generally, many states allow for the tolling of the statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases under certain circumstances, such as when the patient’s harm is not discovered until a later date. Many states also have a statute of repose, which limits an injured patient’s right to recover under a medical malpractice claim, regardless of when the harm was discovered. In a case in which the plaintiff did not discover her harm until eleven years after her surgery, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently deemed the Pennsylvania statute of repose applying to medical malpractice claims to be unconstitutional. If you suffered harm due to a doctor’s negligence, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your rights. The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of the Arfaa Law Group regularly assist injured parties in cases in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as other states.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from a genetic condition that caused a diminished ability of her liver to develop a protein that is necessary to protect the lungs. To treat the condition, she underwent a liver transplant in 2003. The transplant was intended to cure the plaintiff of the condition. In 2015, however, testing indicated the plaintiff still suffered from the genetic condition. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her treating providers and the hospital where the transplant was performed. The defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the seven-year statute of repose under the MCARE Act (the Act) barred the plaintiff’s claim. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the trial court ruling. The plaintiff then appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Statute of Repose

The Pennsylvania Constitution states, in part, that when a person sustains a legal injury, he or she shall have access to the courts and the right to a remedy. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania noted that case law had established that the remedies clause did not establish a fundamental right to a remedy, but that the right to a remedy was nonetheless a significant right.

Continue Reading

Published on:

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

Published on:

People diagnosed with cancer turn to doctors to alleviate their fears, but not all doctors who treat cancer provide care commensurate with their training, and their patients often suffer significant harm as a result. If a patient harmed by medical malpractice pursues claims against a negligent doctor, the doctor may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that the negligence of a third party caused the patient’s harm. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed when it is appropriate to instruct the jury on the defense of non-party negligence in a medical malpractice case that arose out of the defendants’ insufficient treatment of a plaintiff with cancer. If you have sustained injuries due to inadequate treatment, it is prudent to meet with a proficient Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

In 2011, the plaintiff was diagnosed with renal cell cancer and an enlarged lymph node near the affected kidney. A surgeon removed the kidney but not the lymph node, due to its proximity to the inferior vena cava. The plaintiff then began treatment with an oncologist, who presumed the lymph node was cancerous and noted that it shrunk in reaction to chemotherapy. The oncologist ordered periodic scans of the lymph node over the next several years, which were interpreted by multiple radiologists, each of whom found no lymphadenopathy. Then, in 2015, a scan indicated the lymph node had become enlarged. A biopsy subsequently indicated the lymph node was cancerous, and additional scans showed that it could not be safely removed because of its closeness to the vena cava.

Published on:

Unfortunately, medical over-treatment is a reality across the United States. While over-treatment may seem harmless, the reality is that it can cause injury or lead to making your illness worse. Many physicians believe that over-treatment can be caused by a medical professional’s own financial motives, the fear of malpractice lawsuits, or both. If you have suffered an injury that you believe was caused by medical over-treatment, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine your legal options to pursue compensation.

According to a recent study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other high tech scans for low back pain shot up by 50 percent between 1995 to 2015. Up to 35 percent of MRI scans for lower back pain were inappropriate. While medical societies have launched campaigns to convince doctors and patients to forego the unnecessary images, it has not improved the situation. Unnecessary imaging is not just limited to lower back pain. Americans spend in excess of $100 billion on different types of diagnostic imaging every year, much of which is unnecessary and, in some case, can be harmful. For instance, even though X-rays are relatively cheap, they can increase the risk of cancer.  According to doctors, another issue is that MRIs can provide too much information that is not related to the back pain, which can lead to confusion and surgery for benign abnormalities.

Over-treatment can take a serious toll on a patient. In addition to the expenses, patients may be subjected to risks like radiation, dangerous side effects and a number of other risks that are inherent with many intensive and invasive treatments and procedures. A doctor has a duty to treat you with the appropriate standard of care, which is the same level of care and caution that another doctor confronted with the same situation would exercise. If you are over-treated and this treatment results in harm, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault doctor if you can establish that the doctor violated the appropriate standard of care. In short, medical malpractice occurs when the doctor’s breach of the standard of care is a direct cause of patient injury.

Published on:

Medical records are a way to document a patient’s medical history as well as the history of care that person has received by a specific medical professional. These records are vital to ensuring a patient receives adequate care. If you’ve suffered harm due to an error in your medical record or because your medical record was mixed up with another patient’s record, we are here to help. Our Baltimore medical negligence attorneys believe that victims of malpractice deserve full and fair compensation for their injuries and losses.

A study recently conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative has revealed that matching patients to their healthcare records is an ongoing issue in medical facilities across the country. Shockingly, in some places, the current patient match rate could be as low as 50 or 60 percent. The study also found that medical record errors are more common in urban health systems where patients obtain medical care at multiple facilities, indicating a need for more efficient data exchange not just within medical facilities, but also between them.

Mismatched patient records take place when two patients, frequently with a similar name, have their records mixed up by a medical professional. This can lead to a wide range of adverse health consequences for a patient, including, but not limited to: delays in patient care; patients receiving the wrong surgical procedure; patients receiving the wrong medication and an overall increase in healthcare costs. Another type of medical records error takes place when multiple patient records exist for the same patient. Not only are duplicate records inconvenient, they can lead to misinformation and medical professionals providing unnecessary testing and treatment.

Continue Reading

Published on:

You may be shocked to learn that medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Medical errors are also the cause of countless patient injuries in Maryland and across the country. Often, these injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. If you have suffered harm caused by a doctor’s mistake, we can assist you in figuring out your legal options. As experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers, we will tirelessly fight for your right to compensation.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that doctors with poor medical malpractice track records may be an increased hazard to patient welfare. The research revealed that out of 480,000 health care providers in the U.S., just 2.3 percent of doctors were responsible for almost 39 percent of paid medical malpractice claims between the years of 2003 and 2015. In other words, a small number of physicians are responsible for a disproportionately high number of medical malpractice claims.

In addition, the study found that physicians with numerous medical malpractice claims are more likely to move into smaller practices. For instance, doctors with five or more claims were more than twice as likely to go into solo practice than doctors with no claims. Smaller practices tend to have less oversight than larger ones. This is especially problematic because employers, rather than patients, are the ones who typically vet a physician’s medical record when they are hiring. As a result, patients just walk into these smaller practices, completely unaware of the physician’s subpar safety record.

Continue Reading

Published on:

Medical malpractice can lead to catastrophic injuries that can impact the rest of your life. If you have been seriously harmed because of what you believe to be medical malpractice, you may be eligible to recover damages for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our skilled Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys are committed to representing victims of medical negligence across Maryland.

A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that doctors are more likely to open solo practices or quit practicing medicine altogether after facing multiple medical malpractice claims. The researchers found that either one of these responses are more likely than the doctor moving far away to find work and “start fresh.” The study examined a national group of 480,894 physicians in the age range of 35 to 65 who practiced from 2007 to 2015. A total of 89 percent of the doctors had no claims, 8.8 percent had 1 claim and the remaining 2.3 percent had 2 or more claims, which accounted for 38.9 percent of all claims.

According to the findings, more than 9 out of 10 doctors who have five or more successful malpractice claims against them continue to see patients and are in no rush to move far away from where the malpractice occurred. In addition, doctors who have multiple malpractice claims on their record are 45 percent more likely to give up and try another profession than those who have spotless records. In sum, doctors with multiple malpractice claims are no more likely to relocate than those with no claims but they are more likely to give up practicing medicine altogether.

Continue Reading

Published on:

Orthopedic malpractice often takes place during surgery but it can also happen before or after the procedure. If you have suffered an injury and you believe it was caused by an orthopedic surgeon’s negligence, our experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help. At Arfaa Law Group, we are dedicated to helping you obtain compensation for the hardships you and your family may have suffered.

Sharrif Floyd, a former football player for the Minnesota Vikings, filed a $180 million malpractice claim against his former orthopedic surgeon, the orthopedic surgery center and others involved in his treatment. According to the complaint, Floyd went in for what he was told would be a routine operation that would be require three to four weeks of recovery. However, once the surgeon began to operate, he determined that Floyd needed microfracture surgery that required them to drill into the bone, which purportedly led to bleeding and necessitated a post-operation pain blocker. The pain-block allegedly impacted the procedure and paralyzed a nerve and the surrounding muscle in the right leg. Ultimately, the surgery ended Floyd’s football career.

Orthopedic Malpractice

Orthopedic surgeons diagnose, treat and rehabilitate patients who are experiencing disease or injury of the musculoskeletal system. This complex system, which includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves, permits a person to move, work and be active. When an orthopedic surgeon’s make a mistake, they can exacerbate existing medical conditions and even create new problems for patients. If this has happened to you or someone close to you, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice.

Continue Reading

Published on:

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.

Continue Reading