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Johns Hopkins Evades Maryland Woman’s Medical Malpractice Claim Over Misdiagnosis of Rare Disease

A misdiagnosis can have severe and long-term consequences for a patient. If you have been hurt because a medical professional misdiagnosed your condition, you may be able to seek compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our diligent Baltimore misdiagnosis attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your claim.

A Maryland appellate panel has affirmed the mid-trial dismissal of a lawsuit accusing a Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor of misdiagnosing a woman with lung cancer instead of the rare disease she firmly believed she had contracted, and settling a quarrel over when the three-year statute of limitations began to run.

The facts of the case are as follows. M.M., an Arizona resident, contracted Coccidioidomycosis (commonly known as “Cocci” or “Valley Fever”) – a disease caused by a fungus germane to the semi arid areas of the southwestern states. In 2008, M.M. believed she experienced symptoms consistent with a Cocci infection. That same year, she and her husband relocated to Maryland where she sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her doctor there stated that he believed her symptoms were more likely due to lung cancer rather than Cocci. In fact, the doctor said there was a 90 percent chance that M.M. had lung cancer and stated the only way to treat it was to conduct a partial lung lobotomy. In 2009, a portion of M.M.’s lung was removed. It was later confirmed that M.M., in fact, did have a Cocci infection.

Over four years later, M.M. filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital. The hospital argued that she could not file such a claim because the statute of limitations had passed. The trial court agreed with the hospital.

M.M. appealed. The appellate court agreed with the lower court, explaining that M.M.’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations because she had actual notice that her claim had begun to accrue over three years prior to filing the suit. Thus, the trial court’s decision was upheld.

This case highlights how important the statute of limitations is in any medical malpractice case. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases can be found at Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-109 and it says that a plaintiff has three years from the discovery of the injury or five years from the injury, whichever is earlier. It is important to note that the statute of limitations is different for patients who are under the age of 11 at the time of malpractice.

If a plaintiff is relying on the three-year “discovery” portion of the statute, the burden of proof is on that plaintiff to show that he or she did not discover and could not have reasonably discovered that the underlying cause of the injury was a medical error. In the case at hand, M.M. was aware of her injury in excess of three years before filing her claim. As such, her case was barred by the statute of limitations.

In any medical malpractice case, legal deadlines are vital to preserving your claim. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a medical professional’s misdiagnosis of your condition, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney who can help. At Arfaa Law Group, we are dedicated to holding negligent healthcare providers accountable for the harm that they caused and making sure that voices of the victims are heard. To get a free evaluation of your case, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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