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Seeking damages for harm caused by negligent medical care is typically a complicated process that few people possess the skills to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. For example, pro se parties that pursue medical malpractice claims without the benefit of legal counsel are often unaware of the procedural requirements imposed on plaintiffs under state or federal law, and if a plaintiff fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of his or her claims, regardless of whether they have merit. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a United States District dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a medical center owned by a government agency due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you suffered harm due to inadequate care at a government facility, it is prudent to consult an attorney regarding what actions you must take to recover damages.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant medical center, which was owned by a government agency. The plaintiff alleged the treatment caused him to suffer paralysis and other unspecified injuries. Thus, without the assistance of counsel, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the federal district court, seeking damages for medical negligence and an injunction asking the defendant to take responsibility for his medical care and transportation until the case was resolved. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Following a review of the plaintiff’s complaint, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Pursuing Claims for Medical Malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act

First, the court noted that the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief seemed to request veterans’ benefits. The court noted that decisions pertaining to veterans’ benefits were solely the province of the Court of Veterans Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As such, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. Continue Reading

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While some medical malpractice claims involve straightforward facts, in other instances, the circumstances surrounding a party’s harm are complicated, and it is not immediately clear who is responsible or what steps are necessary to pursue damages. Any time a person is harmed by negligent healthcare, however, it is prudent for them the consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect the person’s right to seek recourse for his or her harm. This was shown in a recent Maryland appellate case in which the court affirmed the dismissal of a healthcare malpractice claim on the grounds that it was not filed within the time required under the Maryland Tort Claims Act. If you were injured by a healthcare provider at a government-owned entity, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your options for protecting your interests.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that when the minor-plaintiff was fifteen, he was taken into custody by the State Department of Health and ordered to undergo an inpatient evaluation due to self-harming behaviors. While he was admitted to the state facility, it was noted that he had difficulty controlling his impulses, was aggressive, and had a high risk of violence. It was also noted that he posed a danger to himself and to others.

Allegedly, while still in state custody, the minor-plaintiff was placed in a holding cell with other minors and was subsequently involved in an altercation during which he suffered substantial and permanent injuries. The minor-plaintiff and his mother subsequently filed a healthcare malpractice claim against the defendant in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), after which they waived arbitration and filed a complaint in state court against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to file the lawsuit in the time required under the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The court agreed, granting the motion, and plaintiffs appealed. Continue Reading

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The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of life throughout Maryland, including the process of seeking and obtaining medical treatment. As many states have issued orders limiting or eliminating liability for medical professionals, people throughout Maryland may be uncertain regarding their rights to pursue medical malpractice claims against a healthcare provider following negligent treatment during the pandemic. Currently, however, the orders and acts that apply to Maryland largely protect the rights of people injured by medical malpractice to pursue claims for inadequate treatment of COVID-19. If you or loved one sustained damages due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

Liability of Healthcare Providers Treating COVID-19 in Maryland

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act limits the liability for healthcare providers working as volunteers during the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the CARES Act precludes liability for any harm sustained when the professional is providing services that relate to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19, or the care or assessment of the health of a person suspected of having COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, however, in which the provider may be held liable. For example, a provider may be held liable for treating a patient while intoxicated and for criminal misconduct or gross negligence. It is important to note, however, that the CARES Act only limits the liability of volunteers, which is explicitly defined as healthcare providers that are not being compensated for their services. Continue Reading

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In any lawsuit in which a patient alleges he or she suffered harm due to medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish that the treating doctor breached the applicable standard of care. Simply because a patient suffers harm, however, does not mean that the doctor should be liable for negligence. This was discussed in a medical malpractice case recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The court found in favor of the defendant orthopedic surgeon. If you suffered harm during surgery, it is prudent to meet with a zealous Maryland malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a carpal tunnel release surgery that was performed by an agent of the defendant. During the surgery, the defendant’s agent lacerated the plaintiff’s median nerve, causing her injuries. The plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following a bench trial, a verdict was issued in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Sufficient to Prove a Breach of the Standard of Care

Pursuant to Maryland law, a plaintiff seeking damages in a medical malpractice case must establish the standard of care required at the time the medical care was provided, a breach of the standard of care by the defendant, and an injury caused by the breach. Expert testimony is usually required to prove medical negligence. Continue Reading

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Not all healthcare professionals are doctors. For example, paramedics provide medical care to patients throughout Maryland on a  regular basis. While paramedics can be held liable for harm caused by negligent medical care, similar to doctors, the standard of care imposed on paramedics differs from the standard imposed on doctors, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland appellate court case. If you suffered harm due to incompetent care by a paramedic, it is prudent to speak with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney experienced in handling complicated cases to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff called 911 at 1:00 am due to the fact that her husband was complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. The defendant paramedics were dispatched to the plaintiff’s house. Upon arrival, they spoke with the plaintiff’s husband, who stated that his right side hurt. Further, the plaintiff advised the paramedics that her husband said he felt like he was having a heart attack. The plaintiff’s husband staggered to the ambulance from his home, where his vital signs were assessed. He was transported to an ambulance, where he sat in the emergency room for about ten minutes. He then lost consciousness and fell out of his wheelchair. He never regained consciousness and ultimately died. The cause of his death was a heart attack.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that they should be held liable for the plaintiff’s harm. The defendants argued that they were immune from liability under Maryland law. The case proceeded to trial, and judgment was entered in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff then appealed. Continue Reading

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A case recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland highlighted the importance of complying with procedural requirements in pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Specifically, the court, in evaluating whether to grant leave to amend a complaint to include medical malpractice claims to a plaintiff who failed to comply with several components of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act, ultimately granted leave to amend to claims against some, but not all of the defendants. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is crucial to retain a Maryland medical malpractice attorney with ample experience handling medical malpractice cases in the Maryland courts to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit against the defendant health care providers in December 2018, alleging he received constitutionally inadequate medical care. At the same time, he filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). However, He did not file the required Certificate of Qualified Expert until July 2019. Subsequently, in September 2019, the plaintiff sought leave to amend the complaint in his federal lawsuit to include medical malpractice claims. The defendants objected to the plaintiff’s motion on the grounds that the amendment would be futile.

Grounds for Denying a Motion for Leave to Amend a Complaint

Pursuant to the relevant rules of civil procedure, a complaint may be amended as a matter of course within 21 days of the service of a defendant’s answer or motion to dismiss or with leave of court or the consent of the opposing party. Courts generally grant leave to amend freely, unless an amendment is sought in bad faith or due to a dilatory motive, or would cause the opposing party to suffer undue prejudice. Delay alone, however, is insufficient grounds to deny a leave to amend unless the delay is accompanied by futility, bad faith, or prejudice. A court may also deny leave to amend if the amendment will be futile in that the amended complaint would not withstand a motion to dismiss. Continue Reading

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In some instances, it is clear that a health care provider’s actions or failure to act can provide a basis for a viable medical malpractice claim, but in other cases, the law is unsettled as to whether a provider’s behavior would fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. For example, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently denied a plaintiff’s request that the court certify the question of whether a doctor commits malpractice by engaging in a sexual relationship with the plaintiff, despite the fact that the issue is unsettled under Maryland law. If you were harmed by your healthcare provider’s inadequate care or inappropriate behavior, it is in your best interest to speak with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff both treated with and worked for the defendant physician. Throughout the course of their employment relationship, the plaintiff suffered from significant health problems and underwent an organ transplant. The defendant subsequently advised the plaintiff that he would take care of the plaintiff and protect her employment in exchange for sex. The plaintiff felt as if she was unable to decline, and the two began an intimate relationship. On other occasions, the defendant would ask for sex as a form of compensation for medical treatment.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in pertinent part, that the defendant committed medical malpractice by engaging in inappropriate and unethical sexual contact with the plaintiff. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration. Continue Reading

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Although the majority of Maryland medical malpractice cases allege that a patient suffered harm because of negligent care, suits for harm caused by medical providers are not limited to malpractice claims. In most cases, however, even if a plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges the violation of a statute or regulatory standard pertaining to medical treatment, the plaintiff will have suffered harm due to medical errors as well. Thus, it is critical for anyone who suffered damages due to medical treatment to retain an experienced attorney who will assert the proper claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s claims alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), finding that the claims actually alleged medical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care in a hospital, you should consult a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment and Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident, after which he was transferred to the defendant hospital. He was admitted, intubated, received blood transfusions, and underwent diagnostic tests and a surgical procedure. He remained in the hospital for eleven days. During that time, he required amputation of both legs. The plaintiff ultimately brought a suit against the defendant, alleging it violated EMTALA by neglecting to properly screen him or stabilize his condition. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.

Violation of EMTALA Versus Medical Malpractice

On appeal, the court affirmed. The court explained that the EMTALA was enacted to prevent hospitals from dumping patients, which is described as either refusing to provide patients who are unable to pay with emergency medical treatment or transferring them before they are in a stabilized condition. Thus, the EMTALA requires hospitals to screen a person to determine whether he or she is suffering from an emergency medical condition and if so, to stabilize the person’s condition in certain circumstances, as is necessary to secure the person’s transfer without allowing the condition to further deteriorate. Continue Reading

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Generally, when a defendant physician is accused of committing medical malpractice, the physician will refute the allegations throughout the process of litigation but will participate in defense of the plaintiff’s claims. A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case may seemingly be left with no recourse, however, if the defendant physician leaves the country and refuses to participate in the case. Recently, a federal appellate court discussed whether the insurer of a physician accused of medical malpractice can be held liable for damages assessed against the physician after the physician fled the country. If you were harmed by medical malpractice, it is important to retain an attorney who will fight diligently to protect your interests.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant doctor treated the plaintiff’s decedent for shortness of breath and chest pain. While the defendant administered a stress test and EKG to the decedent and prescribed him a beta-blocker, the defendant did not advise the decedent to seek any other medical attention or visit a cardiologist. The decedent died due to a cardiac event eight days after he visited the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently advised the defendant’s malpractice insurer that she intended to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, and provided the insurer with a copy of the complaint. The insurer retained an attorney to represent the defendant, but he was unable to locate the defendant, who moved to Pakistan and had no plans to return.

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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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