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Medical malpractice cases differ from other civil lawsuits in a variety of ways. For example, in many states, including Pennsylvania, a plaintiff is required to file a certification from a qualified medical professional that indicates the plaintiff’s claim has merit. Although plaintiffs may be tempted to couch medical malpractice allegations as other claims, they cannot evade the statutory certification requirements by merely pleading different causes of action. This was shown in a recent Pennsylvania ruling in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case for failing to provide a certificate of merit. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group, have ample experience litigating medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other nearby states, and are eager to assist you with your claims.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent oral surgery in August 2016. In July 2018, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant surgeon, alleging the surgeon committed a battery by failing to obtain his consent to perform the procedure or consent to place the plaintiff under general anesthesia. The plaintiff failed to file a certificate of merit with his complaint as required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, the defendant ultimately filed a notice of intention to enter a judgment of non pros, due to the failure to provide a certificate of merit. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to find that his asserted his claims in medical battery, rather than medical malpractice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and entered the judgment of non pros. The plaintiff appealed.

Determining a Claim in Malpractice

On appeal, the court addressed the plaintiff’s argument that his complaint asserted medical battery and not medical negligence, and therefore, a certificate of merit was not required. The court disagreed, explaining that a medical malpractice case has two defining characteristics. First, it occurs within the context of a professional relationship. Secondly, it raises questions of medical judgment, that are beyond the scope of common experience and knowledge of a typical person. Thus, if a court finds that both factors are met, the plaintiff must comply with the substantive and procedural requirements that apply to a medical malpractice case in pursuing damages.

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In some instances, a plaintiff will not only suffer harm due to one instance of medical malpractice but will be injured by multiple negligent providers. Unless the instances of harm are in some way related, however, damages for each harmful event must typically be pursued separately. Recently, the United States District Court, District of Columbia, discussed when a claim accrues and what filing date should be considered when a plaintiff pursues multiple medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is wise to speak with an attorney regarding your possible claims. The skillful attorneys of Arfaa Law Group represent injured parties in medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and other nearby states.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, in January 2006, the plaintiff underwent a knee replacement at a government-owned hospital. He subsequently suffered infections, which lead to an amputation of his leg above the knee. Pursuant to the requirements imposed by federal law, he filed an administrative claim with the defendant in September 2008, alleging malpractice and negligence claims. His claim was denied, after which he filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice claims against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, which required the case to be filed within two years of the date of harm. The court granted the motion in part, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims arising out of his knee replacement, post-replacement care, and amputation, leaving only his claims of malpractice arising out of his post-amputation care. The plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration.

Determining When a Claim Accrues

On review, the court noted that the plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the defendant in 2005, related to harm from treatment for his shoulder. The court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s reasoning that the 2005 claim acted as an umbrella to relate the filing of his claim back to 2005, as the law does not permit a plaintiff to present one claim to the government and then file a lawsuit based on a different set of facts. Continue Reading

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When people have to contend with the death of a loved one in Maryland, they are often focused on laying the departed loved one to rest and healing emotionally, rather than a potential lawsuit. Thus, an innocent act such a cremating a loved one’s remains may provide fodder for a defendant to argue that his or her defenses have been damaged in a subsequent case that arises out of the deceased person’s death. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case in which the defendant appealed a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, arguing that the cremation of the plaintiff’s decedent’s remains constituted spoliation. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice, it is critical to speak with an attorney regarding what you can do to preserve your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a surgical reversal of a colostomy, which was performed at the defendant hospital. After the surgery, the decedent developed an infection and sepsis. He died five days after the surgery. It was ultimately revealed that he suffered a bowel leak, which the defendant surgeon failed to diagnose and treat in a timely manner. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff engaged in spoliation of evidence by having the decedent’s remains cremated after his autopsy. Following the trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed.

Spoliation Under Maryland Law

Under Maryland law, the doctrine of spoliation is grounded in fairness and symmetry. In sum, it is based on the principle that a party should not be able to base its claims or defenses on physical evidence that it has since destroyed, to the detriment of the opposing party. In assessing whether spoliation has occurred, a court will determine whether there has been an act of destruction, whether the party intended to destroy evidence and whether the destruction occurred before the suit was filed, when the suit was imminent, or after the suit was instituted. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases are complex, and despite plaintiffs’ attorneys’ best efforts, juries do not always accurately understand the issues of liability and damages. Depending on what court presides over a medical malpractice case, when a jury finds in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff may not only suffer a loss of a damages award, he or she may also be required to pay the defendant’s costs as well.  In a recent case decided by the District Court for the District of Maryland, the issue of when costs should be awarded in a medical malpractice case was discussed. If you suffered an injury due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert claims against your care provider.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist attempted to administer a cervical epidural injection to the plaintiff. Following the attempt, the plaintiff contracted a staph infection. He eventually had to undergo emergency surgery on his neck to address abscesses and infection, and a laminectomy of his spinal column. As a consequence, he suffers from chronic pain that is permanent and is unable to perform many activities of daily life. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant anesthesiologist as well as the defendant doctor who cared for him after the epidural.

It is reported that the case proceeded to trial, and the salient issue presented to the jury was whether the defendants were medically negligent in the administration of the epidural and post-epidural care. The jury deliberated for some time but ultimately found in favor of the defendants. The court then entered an order requiring the plaintiff to pay costs. The plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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Medical malpractice cases often hinge on the persuasiveness and credibility of each party’s expert. Thus, it is not uncommon for either party to attempt to discredit an expert, either by showing that the expert lacks the appropriate credentials to set forth an opinion or that the expert deviated from the applicable standard of care on a prior occasion. In a recent case arising out of Virginia, an appellate court discussed the standard for determining when potentially prejudicial evidence regarding an expert is admissible in a medical malpractice case. If you sustained injuries due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to meet with an attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.  At Arfaa Law Group, our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys are skilled at helping injured parties seek recourse in lawsuits in Maryland and Virginia, and other states as well.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a blepharoplasty that was performed by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged the surgery was negligently performed, resulting in an injury to her right levator muscle, which rendered her functionally blind. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to preclude the admission of evidence regarding disciplinary proceedings against his expert witness. The court denied the motion, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $800,000.00. The defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the court erred in denying his motion.

Admissibility of Evidence Regarding an Expert’s Background

Under Virginia law, trial courts have a responsibility to weigh the competing considerations of the probative value and prejudicial nature of proposed evidence, in determining whether the evidence should be admitted. Further, the law provides that evidence is relevant if it logically tends to prove an issue in the case, and a trial court must decide whether evidence is relevant. Trial courts have the discretion to decide whether evidence is admissible, and the decision will not be disturbed absent a mistake of law. Continue Reading

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In most medical malpractice cases filed in Maryland it is critical for the plaintiff to present expert testimony to establish that the defendant care provider is liable for the plaintiff’s harm. In many cases, the defendant will try to argue that the plaintiff’s expert is not qualified to offer an opinion on the disputed issues, or that the expert failed to establish that the defendant deviated from the standard of care, in an effort to preclude the expert from testifying at trial. If a defendant does not properly preserve its objection to a plaintiff’s expert’s testimony, however, the defendant may waive the right to object. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland overturned a trial court ruling a plaintiff’s expert could not testify at trial. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is critical to retain a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to fight to protect your interests.

Procedural History of the Case 

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant due to the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff with oral candidiasis in a timely manner. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying on the grounds that the expert did not define the applicable standard of care during his deposition. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s case, as the doctor that was prohibited from testifying was the plaintiff’s only expert witness. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding her expert’s testimony.

Expert Qualifications in a Medical Malpractice Case

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-415(h), certain objections are waived if they are not made during a deposition. For example, objections to the competency of a witness, or the relevance or materiality of testimony are waived if they are not made during a deposition, and an objection would enable the opposing party to remove or eliminate the grounds for the objection. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to object to the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony during his deposition and therefore waived the right to object. Continue Reading

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If a person who has been harmed by medical malpractice wishes to pursue a claim against the provider that caused his or her harm, the person must pursue the claim promptly. In other words, if a person delays, the applicable statute of limitations may bar the person from recovering damages. In some cases, however, it may not be immediately clear which statute of limitations applies or when the statute began to run. Recently, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia discussed which statute of limitations applies in medical malpractice cases against the federal government in a case arising out of a failure to diagnose. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a doctor’s failure to provide a prompt and accurate diagnosis, you should meet with a skillful Baltimore misdiagnosis attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue. At Arfaa Law Group, our attorneys regularly represent people in Virginia and Maryland malpractice cases, as well as cases in other states.

Facts Regarding the Decedent’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s loved one was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on December 23, 2011. He ultimately succumbed to the disease. In January 2014, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Veterans Administration (VA) and an independent contractor who worked there, alleging their failure to diagnose the decedent’s cancer in a timely manner. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the ground that they were barred by the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Statute of Limitations Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Medical malpractice claims against an entity of the federal government are governed by the statute of limitations set forth in the FTCA. As a result, a plaintiff alleging harm due to medical negligence in an FTCA case must file an administrative claim within two years of when the cause of action accrues. A cause of action in a medical malpractice case accrues when the plaintiff has uncovered both his or her injury and the cause of the injury. In other words, it accrues when the facts reveal that negligence may have been involved in the plaintiff’s harm.

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In any case in which an injured party wishes to pursue damages, it is essential for the party to comply with the procedural rules set forth under Maryland law. Medical malpractice cases differ from other civil lawsuits, however, in that they have their own separate set of rules with regard to what a plaintiff must do to be permitted to pursue a claim. In a recent medical malpractice case arising out of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim for failing to file certificates in a timely manner, emphasizing the gravity of the failure to comply with the procedural rules. If you or a loved one were injured due to inadequate medical care, you should speak with a trusted medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must do to recover damages.

Facts and Procedures of the Case

Allegedly, the decedent visited the defendant hospital in March 2014, with complaints of lower back pain and numbness and tingling in his legs. The attending physicians assessed the decedent as having a pinched nerve and discharged him. A couple of days later, the decedent had severe back pain and began vomiting. He returned to the defendant hospital but died on the following day, due to septic shock. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) against the defendant hospital and the medical providers who treated the decedent.

Pursuant to the Health Care Malpractice Act, after the plaintiff filed her statement of claim, she had 90 days to file a certificate of a qualified expert. Reportedly, the plaintiff sought and obtained two extensions of time to file the certificate. She failed to meet the third deadline, however, after which the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On the day on which the defendants filed their motion, the plaintiff filed her certificate and a motion to extend the time to file the certificate. On the following day, she filed an election to waive arbitration with HCADRO. The case was then transferred to the circuit court, where it was dismissed, due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a certificate within the time limitations. The plaintiff appealed.

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When people hear the phrase “medical malpractice,” they often think of harm caused by a surgeon or primary care physician, but medical malpractice also encompasses harm by practitioners in other fields, such as dentists. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed what constitutes sufficient proof of dental negligence in a case in which the plaintiff could not identify the specific mechanism of harm. If you suffered harm due to dental negligence, it is sensible to meet with a knowledgeable Baltimore dental malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation.

Factual Background of the Case and Trial

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant dentist for the surgical extraction of her wisdom teeth. She had never treated with the defendant before. Prior to the extraction, she was given a consent form for the extraction, which she signed. The defendant did not discuss the procedure with the plaintiff before giving her the consent form. The plaintiff was conscious during the procedure and recalled that the defendant had difficulty extracting one tooth, and when it was successfully removed, the defendant and his assistants were yelling and cheering.

Reportedly, following the surgery, the plaintiff never regained sensation or the ability to taste in the left side of her mouth. She ultimately visited a dental surgeon, who diagnosed her with a severe injury of the left lingual nerve. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. During the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified regarding the standard of care for dental extractions and stated that there were two possible ways in which he thought that the injury might have occurred. The defendant moved for judgment in his favor at the close of evidence, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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Under Maryland law, filing a certificate from a health care provider is a prerequisite to any plaintiff wishing to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against a board-certified health care provider. Not only must the plaintiff file a certificate, but also the certificate must be from a provider in the same specialty as the defendant or a related specialty. In a recent malpractice case against a transplant surgeon, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland evaluated the specifics of the certificate requirement, including who is qualified to issue the certificate. If you sustained damages due to a negligently performed surgery, it is critical to retain an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing damages from the provider that caused your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from end-stage kidney disease. As a result, she obtained a kidney transplant at the defendant hospital. The surgery was performed by the defendant doctor, who was a board-certified surgeon specializing in kidney transplantation. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, asserting that the defendant doctor departed from the applicable standard of care by transplanting an incompatible kidney in the plaintiff.

Reportedly, prior to filing her lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a certificate and report from a licensed nurse practitioner who was certified in coordinating clinical transplants. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the Maryland requirement that a plaintiff must file a certificate from a health care provider in the same field as the defendant prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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