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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Generally, when people are harmed by incompetent medical care, the cause of their damages is readily apparent. In some instances, though, it may take months or years for the source of a person’s injury to be revealed. As such, the law often allows some leeway in when a plaintiff’s statute of limitations for pursuing a medical malpractice claim begins to run. Recently, a United States District Court discussed the statute of limitations for malpractice claims against a government-owned medical facility. In this instance, the plaintiff alleged it took him years to uncover that a doctor caused his damages. If you were harmed by the careless acts of an incompetent physician, it is prudent to speak to a seasoned Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving the right to recover damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent an electric nerve test on his left ankle in January 2014. The test was performed at a medical center run by the Veterans Administration. He stated that the electrical stimulation that was administered during the test was excessive and caused him to be thrown to the floor. Following the test, the plaintiff suffered a swollen ankle, amnesia, anxiety, and fatigue. He continued to suffer ankle and foot pain but did not determine that the improperly administered test was the cause of his injuries until more than three years later.

It is alleged that the plaintiff then filed an administrative notice of his claim with the Veterans Administration. At that point, it was more than a year after the two-year statute of limitations under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) had expired. The defendant ultimately filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were untimely. Continue Reading

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Under Maryland law, a plaintiff alleging harm due to medical malpractice must comply with the procedural requirements for recovering damages from the purportedly negligent provider, regardless of whether the plaintiff is also asserting claims under other legal theories. The repercussions of failing to abide by the procedural duties set forth under the law were recently demonstrated in an ophthalmology malpractice case in which the defendant’s claims were dismissed.  If you sustained injuries or impaired vision due to the negligent acts of an eye doctor, you should confer with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess what measures you must take to pursue damages for your harm.

Factual History

It is reported that the plaintiff was incarcerated at a correctional facility in Maryland when he was attacked by several inmates. During the assault, he was struck in the left eye, which became swollen and filled with blood. He was transported to a nearby hospital, after which he was transferred to a second hospital that had a shock trauma facility, due to the condition of his left eye. He was originally diagnosed with traumatic optic neuropathy and prescribed eye drops that dilated his pupils. Months later, he requested and received a follow-up, during which it was suggested that he visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Allegedly, the defendant ophthalmologist then examined the plaintiff and advised him he had glaucoma in both eyes as well as trauma. He underwent numerous additional examinations with the defendant over the next year. Eventually, he was examined by another practitioner who determined he was suffering from keratoconus, which led to his partial vision loss, and that he had been misdiagnosed by the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant and her employers, setting forth numerous claims including medical malpractice. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted in part, dismissing the malpractice claims. Continue Reading

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Physicians take an oath affirming that they will not harm the people they treat. Thus, a physician can be held liable for engaging in behavior that is harmful to their patients. Additionally, Maryland law allows physicians to be held accountable for failing to involuntarily admit a patient to prevent the patient from harming others or engaging in self-harm, but only under limited circumstances. The criteria for imposing liability on an emergency facility or healthcare provider for failing to admit a person involuntarily were recently discussed in a case in which a mother alleged a hospital breached the standard care after her son died following his release from the hospital. If you were harmed or lost a loved one due to negligent medical care, it is prudent to speak to a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you might be able to pursue.

The Patient’s Treatment

It is alleged that the decedent, who was the plaintiff’s son, was arrested for stealing nasal spray, after which he became erratic and threatened to commit suicide. Due to his behavior, the police transported the decedent to the defendant hospital for evaluation. During the evaluation, the decedent advised he had previously been prescribed anti-psychotic medications, and that he had a history of attempting suicide. Ultimately, the defendant physician that evaluated the decedent determined that the decedent was depressed, but was not an acute suicide risk. As such, he was released into police custody. Approximately one week later, while still in police custody, the decedent died by suicide.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and the defendant physician, alleging they negligently breached the standard of care in multiple ways in the treatment of the decedent. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that they were immune from liability under Maryland law. Continue Reading

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Generally, a plaintiff alleging a healthcare provider should be held liable for medical malpractice under Maryland law must provide a report from a medical expert to prove the healthcare provider’s liability. The plaintiff must not only produce an expert report on the issue of causation but must also produce the report within the time frame set forth by the court; otherwise, it could adversely affect the plaintiff’s right to recover damages. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which the court granted judgment in favor of the defendant due to the plaintiff’s failure to produce a timely expert report.  If you suffered harm because of incompetently rendered medical treatment, it is advisable to retain a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in producing the evidence needed to prove liability.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff began receiving chiropractic services at the defendant healthcare center following a car accident. The chiropractic treatments ultimately damaged a spinal cord stimulator that had previously been implanted in the plaintiff’s neck. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. Pursuant to the scheduling order issued by the court, the plaintiff designated an expert witness in February 2018.

Allegedly, after the plaintiff’s expert was deposed in May 2018, however, it was revealed the expert could not opine on the issue of causation. The plaintiff, therefore, amended her expert witness designation to add a second expert. The defendant filed a motion to strike the designation of the second expert as untimely, and the court granted the motion, barring the plaintiff’s second expert from testifying at trial. As such, during the trial, the plaintiff did not present expert testimony on the issue of causation, and the court granted judgment in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff then appealed the trial court’s decision to preclude the testimony of her second expert. Continue Reading

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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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