Maryland Court Explains Certificates of Qualified Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice claims are often legally complex and require expert testimony on numerous medical issues and standards. In Maryland, they are procedurally complex as well, and if parties fail to abide by the applicable procedural rules, their claims may be dismissed. This was confirmed in a recent ruling issued in a Maryland case, in which the court found that the plaintiff’s claim was properly dismissed for being filed outside of the statute of limitations. If you suffered injuries due to the negligence of your healthcare provider, it is in your best interest to talk to a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to protect your right to pursue damages.

Case Setting

It is reported that the decedent, a long-term resident of a nursing home owned by the defendant, had a G-Tube for nutrition and hydration. In January 2018, the G-Tube became dislodged, prompting an assessment by a nurse. Although an appointment with a gastroenterologist was scheduled, the defendant later canceled it. In April 2018, the decedent was again evaluated by a provider employed by the defendant due to G-Tube issues, but no further actions were taken.

Allegedly, in May 2018, the plaintiff was taken to a gastroenterology clinic, where an immediate hospital examination was recommended. She was subsequently admitted to the hospital, and her condition worsened, leading to her death in June 2018. In August 2020, the plaintiff filed a complaint alleging medical negligence against the defendant.

Reportedly, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff’s Certificate of Qualified Expert (CQE) was deficient. The court permitted the plaintiff to file a substitute CQE, which the defendant moved to strike, resulting in the dismissal of the complaint. The plaintiff refiled her complaint, but the defendant moved to dismiss, claiming the statute of limitations had passed, and the court dismissed the complaint. The plaintiff appealed.

Certificates of Qualified Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that pursuant to Maryland law, medical malpractice claims must commence with a claim filed with the Director of HCADRO, followed by submission of a CQE.

Further, the court noted that a proper CQE must attest to departure from standards of care and identify the licensed professional breaching the standard. In this case, the court found the substitute CQE deficient for not identifying the individuals breaching the standard of care, which led to the dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice.

Subsequently, the plaintiff refiled her claims after the statute of limitations expired. The court found that none of the statutory savings clauses were applicable to toll the statute. Thus, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint as time-barred.

Meet with an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Healthcare providers have a duty to provide their patients with competent care. Sadly, though, many doctors and nurses fail to meet their professional obligations, and their patients often suffer harm as a result. If you were injured by the negligence of a treatment provider, you may be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney. The experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your rights and aid you in seeking any damages available. To set up a conference, you can reach us through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850.

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