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Maryland Court Discusses Procedural Requirements for Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims

In Maryland, there are statutory procedural requirements parties must comply with prior to pursuing medical malpractice claims. People that fail to abide by the rules may be denied the right to seek damages from their medical providers. Recently, a Maryland court addressed the issue of whether the dismissal of a medical malpractice case was appropriate where a plaintiff fulfilled his duties as to some, but not all, of the claims he asserted. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is advisable to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer promptly to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated by the defendants for various medical conditions. In 2010, he tested positive for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. He was not treated for hepatitis C for two years after his diagnosis, however, and believed that his treatment for hepatitis B was inadequate. Thus, he filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the care they provided fell below the applicable standard. The defendants then filed motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint alleging, in part, that the plaintiff should not be permitted to proceed on the claims related to the treatment of his hepatitis B, as he failed to comply with the procedural requirements established by Maryland law.

Requirements Under the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA)

In Maryland, all lawsuits and claims against a health care provider for harm caused by medical negligence must be pursued in accordance with the HCMCA. There are several conditions a plaintiff must comply with prior to filing a medical malpractice claim. First, they must file a certificate of a qualified expert with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), setting forth the applicable standard of care and the manner in which the standard was breached.

The court noted that the term claim, as used in the HCMCA, should be given a broad interpretation. Specifically, instead of the narrow idea of a cause of action, it should mean a group of operative facts giving rise to a lawsuit. In other words, it covers all actions that arise out of a health care professional providing or failing to provide professional services. The court explained, though, that the certificate should nonetheless specifically identify the parties against whom such claims are brought, describe how they breached the standard of care, and link the breach to the subsequent harm.

In the subject case, the court ultimately found that while the plaintiff’s certificate of qualified expert set forth the standard of care the defendants were expected to comply with in regard to the treatment of hepatitis C, it did not include the standard for the treatment of hepatitis B. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims arising out of his hepatitis B care.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney  

When doctors fail to properly treat serious diseases, it often results in devastating harm. If you or a loved one suffered losses due to the medical negligence of a health care provider, you might be owed damages, and you should speak with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek a favorable outcome, and we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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