Maryland Court Discusses Evidence Sufficient to Establish a Breach of the Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases

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.

In the subject case, the court noted that both the plaintiffs’ expert and the defendant’s expert agreed on several aspects of the plaintiff’s treatment. Specifically, they both agreed that she was an appropriate candidate for the surgery and that the manner in which the surgery was performed was appropriate. Further, they both agreed that the defendant recognized the injury caused by the laceration in a timely manner and took steps during the surgery to repair the laceration. Lastly, they both agreed that both the laceration repair and the post-surgical care was appropriate. The plaintiffs’ expert’s sole criticism of the defendant was that the laceration itself was a breach of the standard of care.

The court noted, however, that the plaintiffs’ expert acknowledged that an injury to the median nerve was a known risk of the procedure but argued that due to the fact that a laceration was an uncommon complication, it constituted a breach of the standard. The court disagreed, finding there was no way to distinguish the laceration injury from any other known risks of the procedure. Further, the court found plaintiffs’ expert’s reasoning to be circular and lacking in evidentiary support. Thus, the court affirmed the verdict.

Consult a Capable Maryland Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured during a surgery, it is in your best interest to consult a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims and what damages you may be able to recover. The dedicated malpractice attorneys of the Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and resources to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us at (410) 889-1850 or via our online form to set up a complimentary and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

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