Maryland Court Discusses Liability Imposed on Paramedics for Negligent Medical Care

Not all healthcare professionals are doctors. For example, paramedics provide medical care to patients throughout Maryland on a  regular basis. While paramedics can be held liable for harm caused by negligent medical care, similar to doctors, the standard of care imposed on paramedics differs from the standard imposed on doctors, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland appellate court case. If you suffered harm due to incompetent care by a paramedic, it is prudent to speak with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney experienced in handling complicated cases to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff called 911 at 1:00 am due to the fact that her husband was complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. The defendant paramedics were dispatched to the plaintiff’s house. Upon arrival, they spoke with the plaintiff’s husband, who stated that his right side hurt. Further, the plaintiff advised the paramedics that her husband said he felt like he was having a heart attack. The plaintiff’s husband staggered to the ambulance from his home, where his vital signs were assessed. He was transported to an ambulance, where he sat in the emergency room for about ten minutes. He then lost consciousness and fell out of his wheelchair. He never regained consciousness and ultimately died. The cause of his death was a heart attack.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that they should be held liable for the plaintiff’s harm. The defendants argued that they were immune from liability under Maryland law. The case proceeded to trial, and judgment was entered in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff then appealed.

Liability Imposed on Paramedics for Negligent Care

Under Maryland law, first responders are immune from liability unless they cause harm due to gross negligence. The court explained that gross negligence differs from ordinary negligence, in that it constitutes an intentional failure to perform a duty in reckless disregard of the consequences of the failure to perform the duty. The court further explained that gross negligence implies a thoughtless disregard of consequences without any effort to avoid harm.

In other words, in order to find that a person acted with gross negligence, or wantonly or with willfulness, the fact finder must determine that the person either intentionally inflicted harm or had complete indifference to the rights of another person, in that he or she acted if the other person’s rights did not exist. In the subject case, the court found that the evidence produced by the plaintiff merely established ordinary negligence and that even if taken in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, it did not establish gross negligence. As such, the court affirmed the trial court’s verdict.

Confer with a Skillful Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you sustained injuries due to inadequate care rendered by a paramedic, it is advisable to confer with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must set forth to recover damages for your harm. The dedicated malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group will gather any evidence in support of your claims and zealously pursue the full amount of damages you may be owed. We can be reached at (410) 889-1850 or via the form online to set up a conference.

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