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Maryland Court Discusses the Need for Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

Many people with critical health issues require blood transfusions. Blood donors typically undergo thorough screenings, and their donations are tested before they are given to patients, but sometimes errors occur that result in patients becoming ill due to contaminated blood. People hurt by tainted transfusions may be able to recover damages, but as with all other medical malpractice lawsuits, they must prove a departure from the standard of care, which is typically established via expert testimony. The evidence needed to prove medical negligence in a case involving a blood transfusion was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a Maryland court. If you suffered harm due to the carelessness of a health care provider, it is advisable to speak to a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assess your rights.

The Alleged Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a blood transfusion while he was at the defendant hospital. The defendant health care company tested the blood prior to its administration, which did not reveal any contamination. Shortly after the decedent received the transfusion, though, he developed symptoms of sepsis. The bag that contained the blood was re-tested and was positive for E.Coli. The decedent died within a few weeks.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. Depositions were conducted, after which the plaintiff was required to file a certificate of a qualified expert. Plaintiff’s counsel withdrew, however, and the plaintiff did not file the certificate. The defendants then filed motions for summary judgment. Upon review, the court granted the motions.

Proving Medical Negligence in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Case

In Maryland, as the crux of a medical malpractice action is the defendant’s exercise of acceptable professional skills, which is usually a topic that is not easily understood by the average person, the Maryland courts have consistently held that plaintiffs need expert testimony to prove negligence and causation. The court noted that courts throughout Maryland had regularly illustrated the importance of expert opinions on the issue of causation in medical malpractice cases.

In the subject case, the court noted that the issues were medically complex, and expert testimony was necessary to allow the fact finder to understand how blood was screened and tested and how blood can be contaminated. The plaintiff also needed an expert to opine on how the decedent was injured by the contaminated blood. As the plaintiff did not produce an expert certificate, though, she could not offer any testimony regarding the manner in which the defendants breached the standard of care, or linking the breach to the decedent’s harm. Thus, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

Speak to a Seasoned Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Even if it seems obvious that a health care provider harmed a patient, expert testimony is typically necessary to prove liability. If you sustained losses due to the medical negligence of a doctor or hospital, you could be owed compensation and should meet with an attorney. The seasoned Maryland malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your options and help you gather the evidence needed to provide you with a good chance of obtaining a favorable result. You can contact us through our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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