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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Many medical facilities throughout Maryland receive funding from the federal government. Simply because an entity is federally funded does not mean it is immune from medical malpractice claims. However, a plaintiff seeking damages for malpractice that occurred at a health care facility that is considered a government establishment must comply with the procedural requirements set forth in the Federal Tort Claims Act (the FTCA). It is well established that the failure to comply with the FTCA can result in a dismissal of claims, as noted in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case. If you were harmed by incompetent care that you received in a government-owned or funded facility in Maryland, you should contact a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you might be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited a hospital at a United States military establishment for a right hip arthroplasty. Prior to the surgery, the plaintiff advised the anesthesiologist that she did not believe an epidural would be effective due to a prior laminectomy. The anesthesiologist nonetheless attempted an epidural three times before switching to regular anesthesia. The plaintiff suffered irreparable nerve damage during the surgery, which rendered her unable to walk upright.

It is alleged that the plaintiff then filed an administrative claim with a government agency alleging that the surgeon cut a motor nerve during the surgery. The agency stated there was no evidence of negligence but invited the plaintiff to submit an expert medical opinion. The plaintiff submitted a written report in which a medical expert stated it was difficult to ascertain the cause of her injury. The agency then denied the plaintiff’s claim, after which she filed a lawsuit under the FTCA, alleging the attending anesthesiologist committed medical negligence. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing, in part, that the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. The court granted the defendant’s motion. Continue Reading

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In an attempt to reduce frivolous claims, the Maryland legislature enacted the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claim Act (the Act), which requires, in part, that a person who wishes to pursue medical malpractice claims must file a statement of claim and a Certificate of a Qualified Expert and Report (CQE) with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) prior to filing a lawsuit. If a claimant fails to comply with these procedural requirements, he or she may waive the right to seek compensation. Recently, a Maryland court explained who may sign a CQE, in a case in which the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were dismissed due to an invalid CQE. If you suffered harm due to neglectful medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to set forth a winning case.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent back surgery at the defendant hospital. Following the surgery, employees of the defendant attempted to transfer the plaintiff from a bed into a chair and negligently dropped the plaintiff, causing him to reinjure his back. The plaintiff subsequently filed a statement of claim with the HCADRO, as well as a CQE signed by a registered nurse. He then filed a complaint against the defendant in the circuit court. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiff failed to comply with the Act because a registered nurse was not qualified to testify as to causation in the CQE. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in ruling that a registered nurse is not qualified to sign a CQE.

Sufficiency of a Certificate of a Qualified Expert and Report

The Act provides that a CQE must be signed by a health care provider, and the Maryland definition of health care providers includes registered nurses. The Act also provides that an expert providing a CQE must not only opine that the defendant departed from the standard of care, but must also attest that the defendant’s departure from the standard of care caused the plaintiff’s harm. Continue Reading

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Seeking damages for harm caused by negligent medical care is typically a complicated process that few people possess the skills to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. For example, pro se parties that pursue medical malpractice claims without the benefit of legal counsel are often unaware of the procedural requirements imposed on plaintiffs under state or federal law, and if a plaintiff fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of his or her claims, regardless of whether they have merit. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a United States District dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a medical center owned by a government agency due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you suffered harm due to inadequate care at a government facility, it is prudent to consult an attorney regarding what actions you must take to recover damages.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant medical center, which was owned by a government agency. The plaintiff alleged the treatment caused him to suffer paralysis and other unspecified injuries. Thus, without the assistance of counsel, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the federal district court, seeking damages for medical negligence and an injunction asking the defendant to take responsibility for his medical care and transportation until the case was resolved. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Following a review of the plaintiff’s complaint, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Pursuing Claims for Medical Malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act

First, the court noted that the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief seemed to request veterans’ benefits. The court noted that decisions pertaining to veterans’ benefits were solely the province of the Court of Veterans Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As such, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. Continue Reading

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The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of life throughout Maryland, including the process of seeking and obtaining medical treatment. As many states have issued orders limiting or eliminating liability for medical professionals, people throughout Maryland may be uncertain regarding their rights to pursue medical malpractice claims against a healthcare provider following negligent treatment during the pandemic. Currently, however, the orders and acts that apply to Maryland largely protect the rights of people injured by medical malpractice to pursue claims for inadequate treatment of COVID-19. If you or loved one sustained damages due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

Liability of Healthcare Providers Treating COVID-19 in Maryland

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act limits the liability for healthcare providers working as volunteers during the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the CARES Act precludes liability for any harm sustained when the professional is providing services that relate to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19, or the care or assessment of the health of a person suspected of having COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, however, in which the provider may be held liable. For example, a provider may be held liable for treating a patient while intoxicated and for criminal misconduct or gross negligence. It is important to note, however, that the CARES Act only limits the liability of volunteers, which is explicitly defined as healthcare providers that are not being compensated for their services. Continue Reading

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In any lawsuit in which a patient alleges he or she suffered harm due to medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish that the treating doctor breached the applicable standard of care. Simply because a patient suffers harm, however, does not mean that the doctor should be liable for negligence. This was discussed in a medical malpractice case recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The court found in favor of the defendant orthopedic surgeon. If you suffered harm during surgery, it is prudent to meet with a zealous Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a carpal tunnel release surgery that was performed by an agent of the defendant. During the surgery, the defendant’s agent lacerated the plaintiff’s median nerve, causing her injuries. The plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following a bench trial, a verdict was issued in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Sufficient to Prove a Breach of the Standard of Care

Pursuant to Maryland law, a plaintiff seeking damages in a medical malpractice case must establish the standard of care required at the time the medical care was provided, a breach of the standard of care by the defendant, and an injury caused by the breach. Expert testimony is usually required to prove medical negligence. Continue Reading

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A case recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland highlighted the importance of complying with procedural requirements in pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Specifically, the court, in evaluating whether to grant leave to amend a complaint to include medical malpractice claims to a plaintiff who failed to comply with several components of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act, ultimately granted leave to amend to claims against some, but not all of the defendants. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is crucial to retain a Maryland medical malpractice attorney with ample experience handling medical malpractice cases in the Maryland courts to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit against the defendant health care providers in December 2018, alleging he received constitutionally inadequate medical care. At the same time, he filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). However, He did not file the required Certificate of Qualified Expert until July 2019. Subsequently, in September 2019, the plaintiff sought leave to amend the complaint in his federal lawsuit to include medical malpractice claims. The defendants objected to the plaintiff’s motion on the grounds that the amendment would be futile.

Grounds for Denying a Motion for Leave to Amend a Complaint

Pursuant to the relevant rules of civil procedure, a complaint may be amended as a matter of course within 21 days of the service of a defendant’s answer or motion to dismiss or with leave of court or the consent of the opposing party. Courts generally grant leave to amend freely, unless an amendment is sought in bad faith or due to a dilatory motive, or would cause the opposing party to suffer undue prejudice. Delay alone, however, is insufficient grounds to deny a leave to amend unless the delay is accompanied by futility, bad faith, or prejudice. A court may also deny leave to amend if the amendment will be futile in that the amended complaint would not withstand a motion to dismiss. Continue Reading

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In some instances, it is clear that a health care provider’s actions or failure to act can provide a basis for a viable medical malpractice claim, but in other cases, the law is unsettled as to whether a provider’s behavior would fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. For example, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently denied a plaintiff’s request that the court certify the question of whether a doctor commits malpractice by engaging in a sexual relationship with the plaintiff, despite the fact that the issue is unsettled under Maryland law. If you were harmed by your healthcare provider’s inadequate care or inappropriate behavior, it is in your best interest to speak with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff both treated with and worked for the defendant physician. Throughout the course of their employment relationship, the plaintiff suffered from significant health problems and underwent an organ transplant. The defendant subsequently advised the plaintiff that he would take care of the plaintiff and protect her employment in exchange for sex. The plaintiff felt as if she was unable to decline, and the two began an intimate relationship. On other occasions, the defendant would ask for sex as a form of compensation for medical treatment.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in pertinent part, that the defendant committed medical malpractice by engaging in inappropriate and unethical sexual contact with the plaintiff. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases differ from other civil lawsuits in a variety of ways. For example, in many states, including Pennsylvania, a plaintiff is required to file a certification from a qualified medical professional that indicates the plaintiff’s claim has merit. Although plaintiffs may be tempted to couch medical malpractice allegations as other claims, they cannot evade the statutory certification requirements by merely pleading different causes of action. This was shown in a recent Pennsylvania ruling in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case for failing to provide a certificate of merit. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group, have ample experience litigating medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other nearby states, and are eager to assist you with your claims.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent oral surgery in August 2016. In July 2018, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant surgeon, alleging the surgeon committed a battery by failing to obtain his consent to perform the procedure or consent to place the plaintiff under general anesthesia. The plaintiff failed to file a certificate of merit with his complaint as required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, the defendant ultimately filed a notice of intention to enter a judgment of non pros, due to the failure to provide a certificate of merit. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to find that his asserted his claims in medical battery, rather than medical malpractice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and entered the judgment of non pros. The plaintiff appealed.

Determining a Claim in Malpractice

On appeal, the court addressed the plaintiff’s argument that his complaint asserted medical battery and not medical negligence, and therefore, a certificate of merit was not required. The court disagreed, explaining that a medical malpractice case has two defining characteristics. First, it occurs within the context of a professional relationship. Secondly, it raises questions of medical judgment, that are beyond the scope of common experience and knowledge of a typical person. Thus, if a court finds that both factors are met, the plaintiff must comply with the substantive and procedural requirements that apply to a medical malpractice case in pursuing damages.

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In some instances, a plaintiff will not only suffer harm due to one instance of medical malpractice but will be injured by multiple negligent providers. Unless the instances of harm are in some way related, however, damages for each harmful event must typically be pursued separately. Recently, the United States District Court, District of Columbia, discussed when a claim accrues and what filing date should be considered when a plaintiff pursues multiple medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is wise to speak with an attorney regarding your possible claims. The skillful attorneys of Arfaa Law Group represent injured parties in medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and other nearby states.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, in January 2006, the plaintiff underwent a knee replacement at a government-owned hospital. He subsequently suffered infections, which lead to an amputation of his leg above the knee. Pursuant to the requirements imposed by federal law, he filed an administrative claim with the defendant in September 2008, alleging malpractice and negligence claims. His claim was denied, after which he filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice claims against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, which required the case to be filed within two years of the date of harm. The court granted the motion in part, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims arising out of his knee replacement, post-replacement care, and amputation, leaving only his claims of malpractice arising out of his post-amputation care. The plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration.

Determining When a Claim Accrues

On review, the court noted that the plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the defendant in 2005, related to harm from treatment for his shoulder. The court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s reasoning that the 2005 claim acted as an umbrella to relate the filing of his claim back to 2005, as the law does not permit a plaintiff to present one claim to the government and then file a lawsuit based on a different set of facts. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases are complex, and despite plaintiffs’ attorneys’ best efforts, juries do not always accurately understand the issues of liability and damages. Depending on what court presides over a medical malpractice case, when a jury finds in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff may not only suffer a loss of a damages award, he or she may also be required to pay the defendant’s costs as well.  In a recent case decided by the District Court for the District of Maryland, the issue of when costs should be awarded in a medical malpractice case was discussed. If you suffered an injury due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert claims against your care provider.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist attempted to administer a cervical epidural injection to the plaintiff. Following the attempt, the plaintiff contracted a staph infection. He eventually had to undergo emergency surgery on his neck to address abscesses and infection, and a laminectomy of his spinal column. As a consequence, he suffers from chronic pain that is permanent and is unable to perform many activities of daily life. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant anesthesiologist as well as the defendant doctor who cared for him after the epidural.

It is reported that the case proceeded to trial, and the salient issue presented to the jury was whether the defendants were medically negligent in the administration of the epidural and post-epidural care. The jury deliberated for some time but ultimately found in favor of the defendants. The court then entered an order requiring the plaintiff to pay costs. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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