Maryland Court Explains Prerequisites to Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims

In Maryland, people harmed by incompetent medical care may seek recourse by pursuing medical malpractice claims. Before initiating such claims, they must meet certain procedural prerequisites however. If they fail to do so, their claims may be dismissed, as discussed in a recent Maryland ruling. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to medical negligence, you should contact a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney to assess what measures you can take to protect your interests.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The plaintiff claimed that during a blood-drawing procedure conducted by a medical student, he explicitly instructed the student not to search for a vein if they could not easily find one to draw blood.

Allegedly, the student ignored this instruction and placed the needle deep into the plaintiff’s right armpit. Because of this, the plaintiff suffered increased soreness and sharp pain. Before initiating his lawsuit, the plaintiff neglected to submit his claim to the Health Claims Arbitration Office (HCAO) before initiating the lawsuit in the circuit court. Consequently, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, asserting that it was filed prematurely. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff then filed an appeal.

Prerequisites to Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court evaluated whether it complied with the applicable law. In doing so, it considered all well-pled facts in the complaint and drew any reasonable inferences from those facts. The court also accepted the inferences in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party. After reviewing the facts of the case, the court ultimately affirmed the trial court ruling.

In doing so, the court explained that under the Health Claims Act, a plaintiff claiming that they suffered medical harm that was caused by a health care provider and seeking damages exceeding the statutorily defined limit must first file the claim with the HCAO.

The plaintiff, on appeal, specifically questioned whether his claim asserted that he suffered medical harm. The Act defines this as such harm resulting from the rendering or failure to render health care. The plaintiff argued that his harm arose out of the student’s offering health care in a way that did not comply with his instructions, making it a medical harm.

However, the court held that even if the student failed to comply with the plaintiff’s instructions, the student’s conduct was still medically valid. Because the plaintiff did not argue that the harm arose out of conduct that was not medically valid, the court affirmed the dismissal, stating that he was required to file with the HCAO before suing in the circuit court. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Dedicated Maryland Attorney

If you were harmed by the carelessness of a health care provider, you may be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney. The dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and resources needed to demonstrate negligent doctors and nurses should be held accountable for the harm they cause, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. To arrange a meeting, you can contact us through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850.

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