Maryland Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Claim Requirements

People seeking medical treatment have the right to competent care, regardless of where it occurs. If the care they receive is inadequate, they may be able to pursue claims against their providers. They must ensure that they allege the appropriate claims and follow any required procedures, however, otherwise their claims may be subject to dismissal, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland case. If you suffered losses due to substandard medical care, it is advisable to speak to a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer regarding your claims.

Facts of the Case and Procedural History

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was housed at a federal institution in Maryland, was attacked by another inmate, resulting in a foot wound and a broken leg. Nurse Holly Hoover evaluated and treated the wound but did not prescribe pain medication or order X-rays. The plaintiff continued to suffer significant pain. The defendant orthopedic surgeon, affiliated with the defendant health center, evaluated the plaintiff in February 2020 and diagnosed issues related to past injuries and surgeries. He recommended and performed surgery in December 2020, to remove abnormal bone growth but could not remove surgical hardware due to incompatible tools.

Reportedly, post-surgery, the plaintiff developed an infection, which he attributed to improper wound care by the medical staff at the correctional institution. The defendant internal medicine physician, saw the plaintiff once in April 2021 and prescribed Lyrica for pain management, but did not refer him for physical therapy. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed the Complaint, asserting claims of deliberate indifference to his medical needs under the Eighth Amendment and discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The defendants moved for summary judgment.

Medical Malpractice Claim Requirements

In their motions, the defendants argued the plaintiff failed to establish deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment. Additionally, the court examined whether the plaintiff had implicitly alleged medical negligence or malpractice claims against the defendant orthopedic surgeon.

Specifically, the court noted that the defendant orthopedic surgeon’s inability to complete the planned surgery due to unavailable tools did not constitute deliberate indifference. His actions, which included removing abnormal bone growth and properly closing the incision, did not show a disregard for the plaintiff’s medical needs. Any claim that the defendant orthopedic surgeon’s conduct amounted to medical negligence did not meet the deliberate indifference standard required under the Eighth Amendment.

The court also addressed the plaintiff’s potential medical malpractice claims. In Maryland, such claims must comply with the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA), which mandates filing a claim with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) and obtaining a certificate of a qualified expert. The plaintiff did not allege compliance with these requirements, and therefore, any medical malpractice claim would be dismissed without prejudice for failing to meet the HCMCA prerequisites.

The court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s equal protection claims against both the defendants.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you sustained harm due to a physician’s carelessness, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer to determine your potential claims. The knowledgeable Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys at Arfaa Law Group can review the facts of your case and help you pursue any available damages. To arrange a consultation, reach out through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850.

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