Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Under Maryland law, people harmed by the negligence of healthcare providers have the right to pursue redress for their losses via medical malpractice claims. Such claims can be pursued independently, but it is not uncommon for parties to assert several causes of action in a single lawsuit. While this is permissible if such cases are pursued in federal court, and the court subsequently dismisses claims arising under federal law, it most likely will decline to exercise jurisdiction over any medical malpractice claims arising under state law. This was demonstrated recently in a case in which the District Court of Maryland declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is smart to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney about what steps you can take to protect your interest.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a lawsuit against several defendants, asserting the demonstrated deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of federal law and committed medical malpractice in violation of state law. Specifically, he claimed that his psychiatric medication was discontinued leading to depression, irrational thoughts, and mood swings, and that the defendants ignored his requests to reinstate the medication.

Allegedly, none of the defendants had been served, but one of the defendants agreed to respond to the complaint without being served. They filed a motion to dismiss the complaint or, alternatively, for summary judgment. The plaintiff opposed the motion and requested permission to serve the other defendants.

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Doctors, like all people, make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, when they make mistakes in the context of medical care, it can cause grave harm and may be grounds for pursuing medical malpractice claims. Doctors rarely admit liability when accused of medical negligence however, and, in some instances, will assert that another physician is to blame. In a recent Maryland opinion, the court discussed causation and third-party negligence and what evidence is admissible to demonstrate a lack of culpability. If you were harmed by the carelessness of a physician, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney promptly.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the decedent had several risk factors for stroke, including obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and smoking. He sought medical attention after hitting his head while playing racquetball, complaining of headaches and nausea. Initially, his CT scans appeared normal. However, over the following weeks, his symptoms worsened, and he sought further medical advice, but no definitive diagnosis was made. The decedent subsequently suffered a stroke and was taken to the hospital. Despite treatment attempts, the decedent’s condition deteriorated, and he died.

Allegedly, the decedent’s estate filed a medical malpractice case against the radiologist that reviewed the decedent’s imaging as well as other medical practitioners involved in the decedent’s care, alleging negligence and failure to diagnose the stroke in a timely manner. The case went to trial, and the jury found in favor of the defendant radiologist, determining that he had not breached the standard of care. The decedent’s estate appealed. Continue Reading ›

In a Maryland medical malpractice case, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the defendant engaged in behavior that constitutes a deviation from the standard of care and that such behavior caused the plaintiff’s harm. In defense of such claims, the defendant may seek to introduce habit evidence, which essentially demonstrates that they typically follow a certain routine when treating patients and most likely did not depart from that routine on the date in question. Recently, a Maryland court discussed the admissibility of habit evidence in a medical malpractice case in which the jury ultimately found in favor of the defendant. If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you have the right to seek compensation, and it is advisable to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney at your earliest convenience.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the decedent slipped and fell on a wet floor at work, after which she was taken to the defendant’s hospital for examination. A nurse documented her injuries, and the defendant doctor examined her, diagnosing knee and hip contusions. Over the next few weeks, the decedent’s condition worsened, and she consulted other doctors, eventually being diagnosed with an acute compression fracture of the L3 vertebrae with nerve root compression. She underwent spinal fusion surgery but later suffered an anoxic brain injury, leaving her in a persistent vegetative state until her death.

Allegedly, the decedent’s guardian filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant doctor, determining that she was not negligent in her care and treatment of the decedent. The guardian filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, a new trial based on the trial court’s admission of “habit” testimony regarding the defendant doctor’s examination practices. The motion was denied without a hearing. The guardian appealed.

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In Maryland, if people die due to complications caused by the negligence of their healthcare providers, their loved ones may be able to seek compensation via wrongful death claims. Only certain parties have the right to pursue such claims, however. In a recent Maryland medical malpractice case, the court analyzed whether there was adequate evidence of a common law marriage so as to grant a purported wife standing to pursue wrongful death claims, ultimately determining that there was. If you lost a loved one because of incompetent medical care, it is wise to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your possible claims.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant doctor and defendant hospital. In his complaint, the plaintiff asserted that the decedent was his wife under Pennsylvania common law. The defendant doctor filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the wrongful death claim because he and the decedent were not married under Pennsylvania law. The trial court agreed with the defendant and dismissed the complaint. In doing so, the court stated that the plaintiff failed to provide enough evidence to establish a genuine dispute about his alleged common-law marriage. The plaintiff appealed.

People suffering from cancer and other critical illnesses typically expect their doctors to offer treatment that alleviates their disease or extends their life. Unfortunately, not all physicians provide their patients with competent care, and their negligence often diminishes their patients’ chances of achieving good outcomes. Recently, a Maryland court addressed whether such carelessness constitutes grounds for recovering damages in a medical malpractice case, ultimately ruling that it does not, rejecting the loss of chance doctrine. If your health was damaged by a careless physician, it is in your best interest to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney about your options for seeking damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the decedent was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2006. She had a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. She then underwent a series of diagnostic scans, all of which were negative for metastatic disease. A diagnostic test conducted in 2013 showed a new lesion on her clavicle that was potentially cancerous. The defendant, the decedent’s oncologist, reviewed the scan but did not order further testing or advise the plaintiff of the lesion’s presence.

Allegedly, three years later, the decedent underwent testing that showed that her breast cancer had metastasized to her clavicle. The decedent continued to treat but passed away in 2017. Her husband and their children filed a survival and wrongful death action against the defendant. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the theory the plaintiffs based their case on, the loss of chance doctrine, was not recognized in Maryland. The court granted the motion as to the wrongful death claim. The plaintiff appealed, but the ruling was upheld. He then petitioned for writ of certiorari requesting that the court answer whether Maryland’s Wrongful Death Statute permits recovery of damages where the actions of a doctor shortened the life of a terminally ill patient. Continue Reading ›

Many parents are apprehensive about the births of their children. While a variety of concerns may cause expectant parents anxiety, they rarely anticipate that they will lose their child due to the incompetence of their treatment providers. Unfortunately, some fetuses suffer harm before birth that is ultimately fatal, and in many cases, such injuries are caused by the recklessness of healthcare professionals. Parents who suffer the loss of their children at birth can often recover substantial damages, as demonstrated in a recent wrongful death verdict issued in a birth injury case in Baltimore. If your child suffered harm at birth due to the carelessness of a medical provider, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Maryland birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to seek redress.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the mother arrived at the defendant hospital in active labor and at full term shortly after midnight on July 19, 2015. Four hours later, she began receiving doses of the hormone oxytocin to help her deliver. The fetus first displayed signs of cardiac distress around 9:00 am when a sensor indicated a heart rate of 160 beats per minute. The defendant directed the staff not to take any action, however.

According to the complaint, the mother began complaining of severe abdominal pain three and a half hours later. She was not taken to the operating room until 2:00 pm, though, at which time the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist performed an emergency cesarean section. Tragically, the baby was born with no detectable heart rate and resuscitation attempts were ineffective. In February 2018, the parents filed a wrongful death case against the hospital and the obstetrician-gynecologist. Continue Reading ›

Stage IV metastatic breast cancer is a devastating disease for which, tragically, there is no cure. As such, many people lose their lives to metastatic breast cancer each year. While stage IV breast cancer is not curable, it is treatable, and some people are able to live for several years after they are diagnosed. If they are robbed of the opportunity to undergo treatment due to medical negligence, though, their family members cannot recover wrongful death damages after their passing, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland opinion delivered in an oncology malpractice case. If you lost a loved one due to the incompetence of an oncologist, it is smart to meet with a knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your potential claims.

The Decedent’s Harm

It is reported that in 2006, the decedent was diagnosed with stage III cancer in her left breast. She underwent a mastectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. For the next three years, her CT scans were normal. In April 2013, however, she underwent a CT scan that indicated new and possibly cancerous lesions that were not present in previous studies. The radiologist forwarded the report from the 2013 CT scan to the defendant, the decedent’s treating oncologist, who did not prescribe any follow-up tests or advise any of her providers.

Allegedly, in February 2016, the decedent was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer after she injured her shoulder. She died a year and a half later. The plaintiff, her husband, then instituted a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that if the decedent had been diagnosed in 2013, she would have lived an additional two and a half years. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, stating the plaintiff failed to present a viable wrongful death claim. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

Parents anticipating the birth of their children typically do not expect problems to arise during their delivery. Tragically, however, some infants die shortly after they are born due to errors made by medical professionals. While parents who lose their children due to birth injuries have the right to seek compensation for their losses, when the paternity of a deceased child is not clear, it may impact the father’s right to pursue claims against negligent healthcare providers. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland ruling, in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the putative father’s claims. If your child sustained an injury at birth, it is prudent to speak to a Maryland birth injury attorney about your rights as soon as possible.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the mother, how was expecting twins, was treated by the defendant obstetricians throughout her pregnancy. The twins were delivered by the defendants, and sadly, one twin died shortly thereafter. The paternity of the twins was disputed, and the plaintiff filed an action to establish paternity. A DNA test revealed him to be the father, but the court did not issue an order to that effect.

Allegedly, the mother explored the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and entered into a stipulation with the defendant in which the defendant agreed to toll the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim. The mother later filed claims against the defendant. The plaintiff moved to intervene, but the mother objected to the motion on the grounds that it was untimely. His motion was denied, and he appealed. Continue Reading ›

Medical malpractice, unfortunately, often causes fatal injuries. When people lose their lives due to the incompetence of doctors, their loved ones are often able to recover compensation via wrongful death claims. If they seek economic damages, though, they must offer sufficient proof of their losses, otherwise, their claims may be denied, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland opinion. If you lost a loved one because of a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages via a civil lawsuit, and it is in your best interest to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to gauge your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s adult daughter died due to complications related to a severe infection in her groin and leg area. The defendant doctor treated her during her illness. The plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, in which she asserted wrongful death claims. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law as to the mother’s claim for economic damages.

It is reported that the court denied the motion, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury ultimately awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in economic damages for loss of household services and $500,000 in non-economic damages. The defendant appealed, and the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. The plaintiff then filed a petition for writ of certiorari. Continue Reading ›

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women, and early detection is critical to an increased chance of survival. While Maryland does not recognize a loss of chance of a favorable outcome as a viable claim in wrongful death cases, a practitioner can be held liable for proximately causing a patient harm by failing to provide a timely diagnosis. Therefore, if a court erroneously employs the loss of chance theory when analyzing whether a doctor should be deemed liable for malpractice, it can lead to an unjust result. The differences between loss of chance and proximate cause were recently discussed in a Maryland opinion in which an appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling in favor of the defendant radiologist in a wrongful death case. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to radiology errors, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Alleged Harm and Subsequent Trial

It is reported that the defendant radiologist performed a breast examination on the decedent in November 2011 that did not reveal any abnormalities. The decedent found a lump in her breast six months after that, that the defendant radiologist deemed benign. Fifteen months later, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. She underwent treatment for two years but ultimately lost her battle with cancer in 2016.

The plaintiff, the decedent’s husband, filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant’s medical malpractice led to the decedent’s untimely death. A trial was held, and a jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict which the court granted, finding that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate the defendant caused the decedent’s death. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

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