Maryland Court Discusses the Continuous Treatment Doctrine in Medical Malpractice Cases

In Maryland, claims alleging medical malpractice must be filed within the time constraints set forth by the pertinent statute of limitations. Otherwise, the injured party may waive the right to recover damages. In cases involving claims against a federally funded facility, in addition to filing a lawsuit within the allotted time, a plaintiff must also file claims with the appropriate federal agency within two years of the alleged harm as well. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when the patient continues to treat with the defendant health care provider following the date of the wrongful act, as shown in a recent Maryland malpractice case. If you were hurt by negligent medical care you might be owed damages, but you must act promptly. It is wise, therefore, to confer with a seasoned Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries after he was shot several times in the abdomen. He was then incarcerated. Following his incarceration, he noticed a metal wire protruding from his surgical site. He repeatedly complained about the wire to the defendants but was not granted a surgical consultation. At one point, an examination was scheduled, but it was ultimately canceled. He made several additional requests for a consultation, and approximately two years after his initial request, he underwent a procedure to remove the wires.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, which he later amended to include both civil rights violations and medical malpractice claims. Then, four years after his initial pleading but two years after his surgery to remove the wires, he filed an administrative claim with the appropriate agency pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), as the defendants were federal employees. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff’s claims were time-barred.

The Continuous Treatment Doctrine and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Under the FTCA, a claim is barred unless the injured party files an administrative claim with the correct federal agency within two years of the accrual of the claim. With regard to medical negligence, a claim accrues on the date the plaintiff obtains the key facts that he or she has suffered harm and the identity of the person that inflicted the harm. However, pursuant to the continuous treatment doctrine, the statute of limitations does not begin to run on such a claim upon the plaintiff’s discovery of the critical facts if the plaintiff continues to treat with the provider that caused the harm. Rather, the claim will not accrue until the treatment stops.

In the subject case, the defendants argued that the continuous treatment doctrine did not apply because the plaintiff temporarily treated with a doctor other than the defendants. The court rejected this argument, noting that the plaintiff repeatedly requested a consultation from the defendants.  As such, the court denied the motion to dismiss.

Discuss Your Harm with a Capable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were hurt because of careless treatment from a medical provider, you should speak with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The capable Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at helping injured parties pursue compensation, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you seek just results. You can contact us at (410) 889-1850 or through our online form to schedule a meeting.

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