Maryland Court Distinguishes Negligence and Medical Malpractice Claims

Not all harm that arises in the context of medical care necessarily constitutes malpractice. And so if a patient who suffers harm during the process of treating with a physician wishes to seek redress via a civil lawsuit, it is prudent that the patient consults with an attorney to ensure the proper claims are pursued. This was demonstrated in an opinion issued by a Maryland court, in which the court ruled that a pro se plaintiff’s purported ordinary negligence claims, in fact, sounded in medical malpractice. If you suffered injuries due to negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a seasoned Maryland medical malpractice attorney to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Plaintiff’s Care and Subsequent Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was in a state facility, was attacked by another resident. He was denied medical care for several hours after the attack, but after he was seen, he was transferred to a trauma center. He was scheduled to see a neurosurgeon who would assess his injuries, but his treatment was further delayed for another month. He was then transferred to the incorrect state facility, where he was denied necessary somatic and psychiatric medications. In sum, he did not receive his prescribed medications for over three months.

Allegedly, the plaintiff suffered permanent spine and neck injuries due to the attack. He subsequently filed numerous claims against multiple parties, including a negligence claim against the defendant health care system that employed the doctors that provided his care while in the facilities. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff asserted medical malpractice, not negligence, claims, and he failed to comply with the administrative requirements for pursuing such claims.

Negligence Versus Malpractice Claims Under Maryland Law

Under the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (the Act), a party pursuing claims against a health care provider for harm caused by a medical injury must first file a claim with the director of the alternative dispute resolution office. The arbitration procedure set forth by the Act must be followed as a precondition to filing claims in a civil lawsuit.

The Act defines medical injuries as injuries that arise or result from the failure to render or rendering of health care. In assessing whether a claim is covered by the Act, the essential analysis is whether a claim arises out of health care and not the label placed on the claim. In other words, if a person receives or should receive health care and suffers harm as a result, it constitutes a medical injury.

In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant alleged harm due to the failure to provide prescriptions, provide timely care, and communicate with other health care providers. Thus, they sounded in medical malpractice, and the defendant’s motion was granted.

Speak with an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Patients who are harmed by incompetent medical care have the right to pursue damages, but it is critical that they assert the correct claims against their providers. If you were hurt by medical negligence, the experienced Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assist you by identifying what claims you may be able to assert in hopes of recovering the full amount of damages you may be owed under the law. You can contact us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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