Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

During childbirth, physicians have a duty to care for the mother and the child. Unfortunately, doctors and nurses sometimes fail to focus on a mother’s health during delivery, leading to serious injuries and even death. If you believe that a medical professional’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, it is important to reach out to a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney who can investigate your case.

According to the National Institute of Health, maternal mortality is increasing instead of decreasing in the United States. In fact, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than in 40 other countries. In 1982, the maternal death ratio in the U.S. was 7.5 per 100,000 live births, and by 2005 that number had risen to 15.1 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Some conditions that can lead to maternal death include preeclampsia, antepartum hemorrhage, postpartum hemorrhage, post-delivery infections, and cardiac arrest. If these conditions are not treated properly and in a timely manner, the mother can die.

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A bed sore, sometimes called a pressure sore or a pressure ulcer, refers to a sore that is developed due to pressure caused by lying in bed in one position. These sores are an injury to the skin and underlying tissue. They can range from mild reddening of the skin to severe tissue damage, sometimes causing an infection that can extend into muscle and bone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 159,000 United States nursing home residents (11 percent) had bed sores in 2004. Residents aged 64 years and under were more likely than older residents to develop these types of ulcers. In addition, residents of nursing homes for a year or less were more likely to have these sores than individuals who stayed at nursing homes longer.

In Hall v. Genesis Healthcare, LLC, a woman developed bed sores on her body and ultimately died. Her two surviving sons filed a wrongful death claim against the defendant health care facility. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the health care facility violated the standard of care by:  i) failing to appropriately evaluate the woman’s condition; ii) failing to plan, apply, and regularly evaluate and modify a suitable care plan for the woman; iii) failing to deliver essential care and services to make sure that the woman’s physical, mental, and psychosocial health was maintained; iv) failing to make sure that the woman did not develop bed sores unless they were clinically inevitable; and iv) failing to administer necessary treatment and services to promote healing of existing wounds, stop infections, and prevent new sores from developing.

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In traditional Maryland medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff is required to show proximate cause. This involves showing that the medical professional’s actions more likely than not caused the patient’s harm. The loss of chance doctrine is a legal principle that allows a plaintiff to obtain damages from a defendant for a heightened risk of death or injury, even if the plaintiff cannot show by a preponderance of the evidence that the ultimate injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

The loss of chance doctrine signifies a change in the traditional rule that health care providers are not liable for providing negligent care if a negative outcome is likely even with good care. Consider the fact that in some situations, a death due to a pre-existing condition may be probable whether or not a particular treatment is correctly done. For example, a person who is suffering from a serious illness may undergo a medical procedure that his or her physician performs negligently, as a result of which the person’s chance of survival is lowered by a certain percentage, and the person subsequently dies. Under the doctrine, the deprived chance of survival or the lost chance of the better outcome is the compensable injury.

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