In Maryland, the essential elements of a medical malpractice claim are a breach of the applicable standard of care and harm caused by the breach. Thus, even if a physician commits an egregious act, it may not be considered malpractice if the plaintiff cannot establish the elements required to impose liability on the physician. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the U.S. District Court of Maryland ruled that although a doctor who engages in a sexual relationship with a patient commits an ethical violation, the violation in and of itself is not sufficient to sustain a malpractice claim. If you were harmed by inappropriate medical care, it is important to speak with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.
Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Treatment
The plaintiff worked as an office manager for the defendant physician at the defendant medical practice. The plaintiff became ill, after which the defendant began treating the plaintiff. Throughout her illness, the defendant physician treated the plaintiff, including attempting a surgical repair of a hernia and repairing a surgical incision. On several occasions, the defendant physician demanded sexual intercourse as payment for his medical services. The plaintiff was ultimately terminated, after which she filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting medical malpractice, negligent supervision, and sexual harassment claims. The defendants filed motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.
Ethical Violations May Not Constitute Medical Malpractice
With regard to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, the court stated that under Maryland law, it is axiomatic that a plaintiff alleging malpractice must prove the applicable standard of care, a departure from the standard, and harm caused by the departure. The court noted that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims arose out of the defendant physician’s demands that she exchange sexual favors as a payment for medical services, on occasions when sexual intercourse was prohibited due to her diminished health.