Maryland Court Discusses Medical Negligence and Deliberate Indifference

Patients generally anticipate that their treatment providers will provide them with thorough and adequate care. If a physician carelessly neglects to live up to such an expectation, it may cause their patient to suffer significant harm. Additionally, depending on the environment in which the doctor’s negligence occurs, it may be grounds for pursuing claims that the doctor acted with deliberate indifference, in violation of their patient’s constitutional rights. There are key distinctions between medical negligence and deliberate indifference claims, however, and it is critical that a plaintiff hurt by a doctor’s recklessness carefully consider which claims they choose to pursue; otherwise, they may waive their right to recover damages. This was demonstrated recently in a Maryland case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, finding that the sounded in medical negligence rather than deliberate indifference. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, it is wise to talk to a  Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was confined to a federal facility. During his confinement, he received medical care for numerous issues, including high blood pressure, leg pain, and asthma. He allegedly suffered harm due to the negligence of his treatment provider, and filed a federal lawsuit against them, arguing that the inadequacies of their care amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to set forth assertions that would allow him to recover under his claims.

Distinctions Between Medical Negligence and Deliberate Indifference

The court explained that the plaintiff’s claims that he did not receive his blood pressure medication or undergo regular blood pressure checks were not adequate to demonstrate a violation of his constitutional rights. Specifically, such assertions sounded in negligence, and would solely allow him to pursue medical malpractice claims against the defendants, rather than deliberate indifference claims.

The court noted that deliberate indifference is an extremely high standard, and proof of mere negligence is insufficient to meet this standard. In other words, errors in judgment do not constitute deprivations of constitutional rights, even though such errors may have devastating consequences. Thus, the court found that the plaintiff’s claims that his negligent treatment for high blood pressure violated his constitutional rights failed, and the summary judgment as to those claims was warranted. As such, it entered judgment in favor of the defendant.

Meet with a Skilled Maryland Attorney

Regardless of what setting medical treatment occurs in, doctors have an obligation to offer their patients competent care, and if they fail to do so, it may give rise to medical malpractice claims. If you were harmed by the negligence of your treatment provider, you should speak to an attorney about what claims you may be able to pursue. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and gather any evidence that would provide you with a strong chance of a favorable outcome. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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