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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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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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Medical malpractice cases often hinge on the persuasiveness and credibility of each party’s expert. Thus, it is not uncommon for either party to attempt to discredit an expert, either by showing that the expert lacks the appropriate credentials to set forth an opinion or that the expert deviated from the applicable standard of care on a prior occasion. In a recent case arising out of Virginia, an appellate court discussed the standard for determining when potentially prejudicial evidence regarding an expert is admissible in a medical malpractice case. If you sustained injuries due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with an attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.  At Arfaa Law Group, our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys are skilled at helping injured parties seek recourse in lawsuits in Maryland and Virginia, and other states as well.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a blepharoplasty that was performed by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged the surgery was negligently performed, resulting in an injury to her right levator muscle, which rendered her functionally blind. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to preclude the admission of evidence regarding disciplinary proceedings against his expert witness. The court denied the motion, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $800,000.00. The defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the court erred in denying his motion.

Admissibility of Evidence Regarding an Expert’s Background

Under Virginia law, trial courts have a responsibility to weigh the competing considerations of the probative value and prejudicial nature of proposed evidence, in determining whether the evidence should be admitted. Further, the law provides that evidence is relevant if it logically tends to prove an issue in the case, and a trial court must decide whether evidence is relevant. Trial courts have the discretion to decide whether evidence is admissible, and the decision will not be disturbed absent a mistake of law. Continue Reading

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If a person who has been harmed by medical malpractice wishes to pursue a claim against the provider that caused his or her harm, the person must pursue the claim promptly. In other words, if a person delays, the applicable statute of limitations may bar the person from recovering damages. In some cases, however, it may not be immediately clear which statute of limitations applies or when the statute began to run. Recently, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia discussed which statute of limitations applies in medical malpractice cases against the federal government in a case arising out of a failure to diagnose. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a doctor’s failure to provide a prompt and accurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue. At Arfaa Law Group, our attorneys regularly represent people in Virginia and Maryland malpractice cases, as well as cases in other states.

Facts Regarding the Decedent’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s loved one was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on December 23, 2011. He ultimately succumbed to the disease. In January 2014, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Veterans Administration (VA) and an independent contractor who worked there, alleging their failure to diagnose the decedent’s cancer in a timely manner. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the ground that they were barred by the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Statute of Limitations Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Medical malpractice claims against an entity of the federal government are governed by the statute of limitations set forth in the FTCA. As a result, a plaintiff alleging harm due to medical negligence in an FTCA case must file an administrative claim within two years of when the cause of action accrues. A cause of action in a medical malpractice case accrues when the plaintiff has uncovered both his or her injury and the cause of the injury. In other words, it accrues when the facts reveal that negligence may have been involved in the plaintiff’s harm.

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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.

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There are specific requirements set forth by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (“the Act”) that must be complied with by anyone wishing to pursue a medical malpractice claim. In part, the Act sets forth deadlines for when a plaintiff must file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (“the HCADRO”), and for when a plaintiff must file required documents pertaining to his or her expert. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed whether the trial court wrongfully dismissed a plaintiff’s complaint due to the late filing of the expert certificate and report. If you have sustained injuries due to inadequate medical care, it is crucial to retain a knowledgeable Maryland malpractice attorney who will comply with the statutory requirements to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a claim with the HCADRO arising out of harm allegedly caused by the defendants. The HCADRO provided the plaintiff with two extensions to file the required certificate of qualified expert and report, but the plaintiff missed both deadlines. Thus, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Within five days of when the motion was filed, the plaintiff filed the certificate of qualified expert and expert report along with a waiver of arbitration. The case was then transferred to the circuit court, where the plaintiff filed a complaint. The defendants again filed a motion to dismiss due to the untimely filing of the certificate of qualified expert and report. The plaintiff argued that though the report and certificate were untimely, they were sufficient. The court granted the defendants’ motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Penalties for the Untimely Filing of an Expert Certificate and Report

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court committed an error in dismissing her claim when she filed a valid and sufficient certificate of qualified expert and report prior to opting to waive arbitration. In other words, the plaintiff essentially argued that because she met the substantive requirements of the Act, it did not matter if she met the temporal requirements. In turn, the defendants argued that the plaintiff failed to meet a condition precedent to filing a medical malpractice claim by failing to file the report and certificate in a timely manner, and therefore, the plaintiff’s claim was barred. Continue Reading

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It is not uncommon for people to travel to another city or state to seek medical treatment. Under normal circumstances, traveling for medical care does not present any concerns, but when the care provided causes the patient harm, an issue can arise as to what state’s laws apply in determining whether the patient’s care providers should be held liable. Recently the United States District Court for the District Court of Maryland discussed which state’s law should apply when there is a conflict in a case in which the defendant was treated in Maryland but lived in Pennsylvania. If you were harmed by out of state medical care, it is prudent to consult a proficient Maryland malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking recourse for your injuries.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent, who lived in Pennsylvania, traveled to Maryland to visit the defendant physicians who specialized in ear, nose, and throat surgery due to chronic nasal obstructions and difficulty swallowing. She underwent various tests, after which she was scheduled for a tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and reduction of turbinates. The decedent was noted to be potentially difficult to intubate, but she was intubated without issue and successfully extubated after surgery.

Reportedly the decedent was discharged home with directions to sleep with her head at a greater than 45-degree angle above her body, which she did. In the middle of the night, however, her husband found her unconscious and not breathing, and she was unable to be revived. An autopsy indicated cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and obesity were the causes of death and that no gross changes that indicated post-surgical complications were present. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants in federal court in Pennsylvania that was transferred to the District Court of Maryland. Defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment. Continue Reading

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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

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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.

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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

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