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Court Discusses Pleading Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice actions are generally complex, and Maryland law imposes greater evidentiary and pleading standards on plaintiffs pursuing negligence claims against medical providers. A plaintiff that fails to abide by the obligations imposed by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA) runs the risk of having his or her claims dismissed, regardless of whether they are valid. In a recent Maryland ruling issued in a urology malpractice case, a court discussed the pleading requirements imposed on plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. If you suffered harm due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to meet with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent numerous urological surgeries and procedures in November 2014 to address calculi on his kidneys and kidney stones and to replace existing ureteral stents. Employees of the defendant healthcare provider performed the procedures. The plaintiff was scheduled to undergo a cystoscopy and removal of the stents at a later date, but the defendant never performed the surgeries.

Allegedly, as a result of the delay in performing the follow-up procedures, the plaintiff developed chronic urinary tract infections, pain, hematuria, and numerous large stones within his bladder and kidneys. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting medical malpractice claims. The defendant moved for dismissal, arguing that the plaintiff failed to comply with the pleading requirements imposed by the HCMCA.

Pleading Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

The HCMCA sets forth prerequisites for pursuing medical malpractice claims. Specifically, a claimant must first file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). Within ninety days of filing a HCADRO claim, a claimant has to submit a certificate of a qualified expert and a report of the testifying expert, stating that the defendant departed from the standard of care and addressing the issue of proximate cause.

The court explained that the purpose of the report is to supplement the conclusions in the certificate by providing more details and an explanation. An expert certificate must include information needed to evaluate the standard of care and must specifically identify the practitioner who purportedly breached the standard in order to pass muster. The failure to provide an adequate certificate is akin to failing to file a certificate at all and constitutes grounds for dismissal.

In the subject case, the court noted that the first certificate did not provide the information needed to determine whether the defendant breached the standard of care. The court noted, however, that the plaintiff submitted a supplemental certificate that cured the deficiencies of the original certificate. Thus, the court found that dismissal was not warranted and denied the defendant’s motion.

Speak to a Trusted Maryland Attorney

Urologists often treat their patients with surgery, but if they make mistakes during the procedures. It can cause lasting harm. If you were hurt by urologist malpractice, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your potential claims. The trusted Baltimore lawyers of Arfaa Law Group can gather the evidence needed to help you seek compensation from the parties responsible for your losses. We can be contacted through our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

 

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