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There are specific requirements set forth by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (“the Act”) that must be complied with by anyone wishing to pursue a medical malpractice claim. In part, the Act sets forth deadlines for when a plaintiff must file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (“the HCADRO”), and for when a plaintiff must file required documents pertaining to his or her expert. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed whether the trial court wrongfully dismissed a plaintiff’s complaint due to the late filing of the expert certificate and report. If you have sustained injuries due to inadequate medical care, it is crucial to retain a knowledgeable Maryland malpractice attorney who will comply with the statutory requirements to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a claim with the HCADRO arising out of harm allegedly caused by the defendants. The HCADRO provided the plaintiff with two extensions to file the required certificate of qualified expert and report, but the plaintiff missed both deadlines. Thus, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Within five days of when the motion was filed, the plaintiff filed the certificate of qualified expert and expert report along with a waiver of arbitration. The case was then transferred to the circuit court, where the plaintiff filed a complaint. The defendants again filed a motion to dismiss due to the untimely filing of the certificate of qualified expert and report. The plaintiff argued that though the report and certificate were untimely, they were sufficient. The court granted the defendants’ motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Penalties for the Untimely Filing of an Expert Certificate and Report

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court committed an error in dismissing her claim when she filed a valid and sufficient certificate of qualified expert and report prior to opting to waive arbitration. In other words, the plaintiff essentially argued that because she met the substantive requirements of the Act, it did not matter if she met the temporal requirements. In turn, the defendants argued that the plaintiff failed to meet a condition precedent to filing a medical malpractice claim by failing to file the report and certificate in a timely manner, and therefore, the plaintiff’s claim was barred. Continue Reading

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It is not uncommon for people to travel to another city or state to seek medical treatment. Under normal circumstances, traveling for medical care does not present any concerns, but when the care provided causes the patient harm, an issue can arise as to what state’s laws apply in determining whether the patient’s care providers should be held liable. Recently the United States District Court for the District Court of Maryland discussed which state’s law should apply when there is a conflict in a case in which the defendant was treated in Maryland but lived in Pennsylvania. If you were harmed by out of state medical care, it is prudent to consult a proficient Maryland malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking recourse for your injuries.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent, who lived in Pennsylvania, traveled to Maryland to visit the defendant physicians who specialized in ear, nose, and throat surgery due to chronic nasal obstructions and difficulty swallowing. She underwent various tests, after which she was scheduled for a tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and reduction of turbinates. The decedent was noted to be potentially difficult to intubate, but she was intubated without issue and successfully extubated after surgery.

Reportedly the decedent was discharged home with directions to sleep with her head at a greater than 45-degree angle above her body, which she did. In the middle of the night, however, her husband found her unconscious and not breathing, and she was unable to be revived. An autopsy indicated cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and obesity were the causes of death and that no gross changes that indicated post-surgical complications were present. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants in federal court in Pennsylvania that was transferred to the District Court of Maryland. Defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases arising out of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient often involve complicated issues and conflicting positions regarding what harm the patient sustained due to the delay in receiving a proper diagnosis. Thus, in cases in which the patient alleges a doctor committed malpractice by failing to diagnose the patient, expert testimony is needed to establish the doctor’s liability and the patient’s harm. In a recent case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered harm due to her doctor’s failure to diagnose breast cancer, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland discussed the scope of expert testimony permitted. If you sustained damages due to a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to hold your care provider liable for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and the Underlying Trial

Allegedly, the plaintiff noticed a lump in her right breast, which she reported to the defendant, her gynecologist. She underwent diagnostic testing, which reportedly revealed no evidence of malignancy. The plaintiff continued to treat with the defendant, who repeatedly advised her that the lump was nothing to worry about. In 2012, the plaintiff underwent a biopsy, which revealed that she had cancer in her right breast. She subsequently underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She then sued the defendant for medical malpractice, arguing that the defendant breached the standard of care by failing to diagnose her cancer in a timely manner.

Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, and the court issued an opinion reversing the verdict and remanding the case for further proceedings. Following the second trial, the plaintiff appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in precluding testimony from the plaintiff’s expert witness. Continue Reading

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Generally, many states allow for the tolling of the statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases under certain circumstances, such as when the patient’s harm is not discovered until a later date. Many states also have a statute of repose, which limits an injured patient’s right to recover under a medical malpractice claim, regardless of when the harm was discovered. In a case in which the plaintiff did not discover her harm until eleven years after her surgery, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently deemed the Pennsylvania statute of repose applying to medical malpractice claims to be unconstitutional. If you suffered harm due to a doctor’s negligence, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your rights. The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of the Arfaa Law Group regularly assist injured parties in cases in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as other states.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from a genetic condition that caused a diminished ability of her liver to develop a protein that is necessary to protect the lungs. To treat the condition, she underwent a liver transplant in 2003. The transplant was intended to cure the plaintiff of the condition. In 2015, however, testing indicated the plaintiff still suffered from the genetic condition. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her treating providers and the hospital where the transplant was performed. The defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the seven-year statute of repose under the MCARE Act (the Act) barred the plaintiff’s claim. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the trial court ruling. The plaintiff then appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Statute of Repose

The Pennsylvania Constitution states, in part, that when a person sustains a legal injury, he or she shall have access to the courts and the right to a remedy. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania noted that case law had established that the remedies clause did not establish a fundamental right to a remedy, but that the right to a remedy was nonetheless a significant right.

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In Maryland medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant care provider deviated from the applicable standard of care. Generally, this requires the introduction of an expert opinion. It is not uncommon for both parties in a medical malpractice case to attempt to introduce evidence to impair the credibility of the other side, but not all character evidence is relevant or admissible. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, discussed whether information regarding a defendant’s reputation or an expert’s potential bias should be admitted into evidence in a birth injury case. If your child suffered harm during birth, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Maryland birth injury attorney regarding what recourse may be available for your harm.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff mother was treated by the defendant ob-gyn during her pregnancy. During the course of her treatment, it was noted the plaintiff infant measured large and a C-section was scheduled in case one became necessary. However, the plaintiff mother wished to proceed with a natural delivery. During the infant’s birth, his shoulders were caught above the plaintiff mother’s pubic bone. An advanced procedure and traction were then used to deliver the infant. Following his birth, the nfant was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, a condition that causes paralysis due to a nerve injury. The mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant on her own behalf and on behalf of her child. A trial was held, after which a jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiffs appealed on several grounds.

Relevance of Reputation Evidence

First, plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the defendant’s reputation that was garnered from internet websites. On appeal, the court found that the evidence was properly excluded as irrelevant. The court stated that evidence is relevant if it tends to make a material fact more or less likely than it would be absent the evidence. The court noted, despite the issues of hearsay and the qualifications of the witnesses making the statements on the internet, evidence regarding the defendant’s general reputation did not speak to the issue of whether the defendant deviated from the standard of care in delivering the infant. Continue Reading

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It is not uncommon for a patient harmed by medical malpractice to have underlying claims arising out of the harm that caused the initial need for medical treatment. It is crucial for anyone harmed by negligent medical care to understand how any related claims may affect a potential claim against the care provider. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland case in which the plaintiff’s medical malpractice case was dismissed due to her settlement with her insurer following a car accident. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident. Following the accident, she underwent bilateral reconstructive breast surgeries at the defendant hospital. She subsequently developed cellulitis, which was treated with intravenous antibiotics, which were administered through a PICC line in her left arm. When the line was being inserted, it punctured her brachial artery. The plaintiff then underwent surgery to repair her brachial artery. She developed pain and reflex sympathetic dystrophy in her arm as a result of the injury to her brachial artery.

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver and ultimately settled the case, signing a release of all claims. Although the release expressly reserved the plaintiff’s right to pursue claims against her insurance carrier, it did not mention the defendant hospital. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against her insurance carrier for breach of contract. She alleged the harm suffered due to the PICC line as an element of damages. The claim eventually settled. Continue Reading

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In the majority of medical malpractice cases pursued in Maryland, both the plaintiff and the defendant will need to retain one or more experts to opine as to whether the expert deviated from the standard of care. If either party’s expert is not qualified, however, the party may be precluded from presenting the expert’s testimony at trial. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed the limitations of an expert’s qualification to opine on treatment related to his or her specialty in a medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm because of negligent medical care, it is wise to speak with a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you may need to prove liability for your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical repair of an aortic aneurysm and a bypass of the right coronary artery. She went to a rehabilitation facility for one month following her surgery, after which she was discharged home. A few weeks later, she underwent an evaluation for blood pressure and other health issues with a certified nurse practitioner at a cardiology practice. During the appointment, the plaintiff’s decedent reported she was experiencing vomiting, weight loss, and nausea. Two days later, however, she was evaluated by the doctor who performed her surgery, who stated that she was not experiencing any complications.

It is alleged that at a subsequent follow-up with a second cardiologist, she again reported vomiting and other issues. The second cardiologist discontinued three of the plaintiff’s decedent’s medications due to her ongoing symptoms. She subsequently developed a pericardial effusion and congestive heart failure. She died shortly after that from sepsis of an unknown origin. Before her death, it was suspected that the plaintiff’s decedent was suffering from mesenteric ischemia, but an autopsy did not reveal any evidence of the condition. Continue Reading

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Regardless of the strength of evidence of medical malpractice, if a person does not comply with the procedural requirements of pursuing a claim against a medical provider, the person’s claims may be dismissed.  For example, anyone who seeks damages for a medical injury must first file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) within a certain amount of time, and if they fail to do so they may waive the right to recover damages. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals addressed the issue of whether the filing of a claim in the circuit court tolls the statute of limitations for filing a claim against a health care provider for a medical injury. If you suffered harm due to a medical injury, you should speak with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff was working as a security guard at the defendant hospital when he was physically assaulted by a patient. The plaintiff suffered injuries due to the assault. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant hospital and emergency room physicians, arguing that they negligently failed to appropriately assess the mental status of the patient that assaulted the plaintiff and failed to properly monitor the patient, who was mentally ill.

It is reported that the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that the complaint set forth claims of a medical injury within the scope of the Maryland Health Care Claims Act, which mandates that all claims seeking damages for a medical injury must first be filed with HCADRO. As the plaintiff did not file a claim with HCADRO, the defendants asserted the plaintiff ‘s claim must be dismissed. The trial court agreed, dismissing the claim without prejudice. Continue Reading

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People diagnosed with cancer turn to doctors to alleviate their fears, but not all doctors who treat cancer provide care commensurate with their training, and their patients often suffer significant harm as a result. If a patient harmed by medical malpractice pursues claims against a negligent doctor, the doctor may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that the negligence of a third party caused the patient’s harm. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed when it is appropriate to instruct the jury on the defense of non-party negligence in a medical malpractice case that arose out of the defendants’ insufficient treatment of a plaintiff with cancer. If you have sustained injuries due to inadequate treatment, it is prudent to meet with a proficient Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

In 2011, the plaintiff was diagnosed with renal cell cancer and an enlarged lymph node near the affected kidney. A surgeon removed the kidney but not the lymph node, due to its proximity to the inferior vena cava. The plaintiff then began treatment with an oncologist, who presumed the lymph node was cancerous and noted that it shrunk in reaction to chemotherapy. The oncologist ordered periodic scans of the lymph node over the next several years, which were interpreted by multiple radiologists, each of whom found no lymphadenopathy. Then, in 2015, a scan indicated the lymph node had become enlarged. A biopsy subsequently indicated the lymph node was cancerous, and additional scans showed that it could not be safely removed because of its closeness to the vena cava.

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Medical malpractice can happen in a variety of ways. If you suspect that you or someone you love has been hurt by medical malpractice involving electronic health records (EHR), our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can help. The rate of EHR-related claims has gone up drastically in the past decade and it is clear that adjustments have to be made to improve patient safety. As experienced medical malpractice advocates, we will meticulously investigate your case to identify any errors or lapses in judgment that may have caused you harm.

According to a recent report, EHR-related claims in medical malpractice lawsuits have increased from 0.35 percent in 2010 to 1.35 percent in 2018. Specifically, the rate of these claims shot up from a low of 7 cases in 2010 to an average of 22.5 between 2017 and 2018. It is important to note that EHRs are generally contributing factors as opposed to the primary causes of malpractice claims. Approximately 12 percent of the EHR-related claims were the result of technology failure, while 7 percent were the result of EHR lacking alerts or failing to send alerts. The main user-related problems included copying/pasting, EHR conversion issues and users entering the wrong information.

Researchers found that family medicine and internal medicine obtained the highest percentage of claims (8 percent) in which EHRs played a role, with cardiology and radiology next at 6 percent. General surgery and emergency medicine had the lowest percentage of claims involving EHRs (3 percent). Of all the claims related to EHRs, diagnosis-related claims accounted for almost one-third.

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