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Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

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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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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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Under Maryland law, filing a certificate from a health care provider is a prerequisite to any plaintiff wishing to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against a board-certified health care provider. Not only must the plaintiff file a certificate, but also the certificate must be from a provider in the same specialty as the defendant or a related specialty. In a recent malpractice case against a transplant surgeon, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland evaluated the specifics of the certificate requirement, including who is qualified to issue the certificate. If you sustained damages due to a negligently performed surgery, it is critical to retain an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing damages from the provider that caused your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from end-stage kidney disease. As a result, she obtained a kidney transplant at the defendant hospital. The surgery was performed by the defendant doctor, who was a board-certified surgeon specializing in kidney transplantation. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, asserting that the defendant doctor departed from the applicable standard of care by transplanting an incompatible kidney in the plaintiff.

Reportedly, prior to filing her lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a certificate and report from a licensed nurse practitioner who was certified in coordinating clinical transplants. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the Maryland requirement that a plaintiff must file a certificate from a health care provider in the same field as the defendant prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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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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Even through surgical procedures and techniques have rapidly evolved over the last few decades, the realty is that surgeons often make mistakes. If you or a person you love has been injured by a surgical error or negligence, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can help you and your family. We understand how a patient can be blindsided by a poorly executed surgery. Not only does the patient have to deal with physical pain, he or she typically also has to deal with lost income and the high cost of medical bills. We will thoroughly examine your case and help you figure out your next steps.

Researchers recently examined surgical adverse events that took place over a six-month time frame. The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, shows more than 50 percent of surgical adverse events were the result of human error. Of the 5,300 surgical procedures that were looked at by the study, adverse events took place in 188 cases and comprised of: death, infection, bleeding, neurological problems, and hospital re-hospitalization. Of the 188 adverse events, human errors were recognized in 106 (in excess of half) of these events. Lack of attentiveness, lack of recognition or cognitive bias was determined to cause more than half of the human errors. More than 54.8 percent took place during surgery, 8 percent took place before the surgery and 26.6. percent occurred after the surgery. The adverse event occurrence rates were categorized in the following way:

  • Performing the procedure – 51.6%
  • Planning or resolving problems – 29.3%
  • Communicating – 12.8%
  • Working with teams- 4.8%
  • Violating rules – 3.2%

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Surgical errors can have catastrophic consequences for a patient as well as his or her loved ones. If you sustained an injury due to a surgeon’s neglect, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands. Our Baltimore surgery malpractice advocates will take our time reviewing your case and help you understand your legal rights and options following a medical mishap.

A study recently printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients of surgeons who acted unprofessionally around their colleagues were more likely to have complications following surgery. In fact, surgeons who exhibit unprofessional conduct can weaken the performance of their teams, the researchers found, potentially putting patient safety at risk.

To conduct the study, data from almost 13,7000 patients and 202 surgeons from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program were used. Researchers examined post-surgery reports to determine whether the surgeons’ colleagues reported any of the following conduct: uncertain or ill-mannered communication, poor or unsafe care, lack of integrity and failing to follow through on professional obligations.

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Physician burnout puts patient safety at risk and leads to potentially devastating errors. If you have been injured because of medical negligence that you believe was caused due to physician burnout, our Baltimore medical injury attorneys can help you learn more about your rights and options. With extensive experience in Maryland malpractice law, we understand how to investigate complex medical injury claims and protect your rights based on the facts.

Sadly, burnout is common for doctors. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion characterized by excessive and prolonged stress. It happens when a doctor is overwhelmed and unable to meet demands. which can lead to feelings of cynicism, worry and doubt. Physicians across the United States deal with symptoms of burnout at almost twice the rate of other workers, often pointing to reasons such as long hours, concerns about being sued, and dealing with workplace bureaucracy like filling out time-consuming electronic medical records.

While we know that doctor burnout is bad for both the physician and his or her patients, it is also extremely expensive. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that doctor burnout costs the US healthcare system approximately $4.6 billion a year. To draw this conclusion, researchers analyzed information such as recent reports and research – including direct or inferred findings on physicians cutting back on hours or quitting as a result of burnout. A mathematical model was then used to estimate the cost of burnout, focusing on the price tag of replacing doctors and lost wages from vacant positions.

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Medical professionals have an obligation to provide competent care to each and every patient. Sadly, this does not always happen. If you have been injured by a medical professional’s negligence, our diligent and hard-working Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help you hold the at-fault party accountable. We will investigate the facts of your case and try our best to get you the compensation you deserve.

A new study published in the Stanford Law Review found that laws passed in 39 states over the last twenty years, which were intended to decrease medical malpractice litigation by protecting physicians who apologized for their errors, are not working. The aforementioned laws were passed based on case studies indicating that apologies from physicians to patients could promote healing and encourage patients to settle their claims outside of court. However, new research shows that when a patient is made aware that his or her doctor committed a medical error, the patient’s incentive to sue can actually increase even though the apology itself cannot be used as evidence of malpractice under the apology laws.

For surgeons, the research found that saying sorry did not impact either the number of lawsuits that were filed or the percentage of lawsuits filed that actually went to trial. For non-surgeons, on the other hand, laws requiring an apology had a worse effect. In fact, claims in states with apology law were 46 percent more prone to end up in a lawsuit. The monetary awards to patients of non-surgeons more than doubled in states with apology laws when compared to states without such laws.

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If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to what you believe may have been medical negligence pertaining to laser lead extraction, you should immediately reach out to a trusted Baltimore medical malpractice attorney. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to holding careless physicians responsible for the pain and heartache they inflict on patients. We know this is a difficult time for you and your family and that is precisely why we will navigate your claim with the utmost compassion.

Recent Laser Lead Extraction Lawsuit

After a two-week trial, an Illinois jury handed down a unanimous verdict recently finding a hospital guilty of medial malpractice. The lawsuit was filed after a 64-year-old man went through a laser extraction program to remove a pacemaker and later died in a hospital Cath Lab where the heart and blood vessels were perforated by the laser. The complaint alleged that the patient was the victim of a poorly prepared staff that not only perforated his heart but also was unable to respond to the injury in a timely manner. The family will now receive over $2 million as compensation for their loss.

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If you or someone close to you has suffered a facial injury because of a surgeon’s negligence, you need a skilled Baltimore medical malpractice attorney on your side. At Arfaa Law Group, we have handled countless Maryland medical malpractice claims and can apply our experience and skill to your case. We understand that every case is unique, which is why we proudly provide unique and personalized representation to each and every client.

The Study

A new study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery found that outcomes in facial trauma lawsuits typically favor doctors, with almost 75 percent of cases being dismissed prior to trial. The study is the first of its kind focusing on facial trauma litigation. The findings reveal that around 15 percent of plastic surgeons face a medical malpractice lawsuit every year. The researchers examined 69 incidents from 1913 to 2016. Approximately three quarters of the plaintiffs with jaw injuries or numerous facial fractures were men. If you look at all the cases that went to trial, 58 percent were tried by a judge while 38 percent were tried by a jury. Almost 75 percent of cases were ultimately decided in favor of the doctors, 19 percent on behalf of the patient, 3 percent reached a settlement and 3 percent had an unknown conclusion. In addition, the study found that outcomes of facial trauma claims varied depending on the region of the country. 

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