Articles Posted in Maryland Malpractice Cases

The Maryland Supreme Court reinstated a lawsuit brought by a patient claiming she lost sensation in her tongue following a dental surgeon’s extraction of her wisdom teeth. A Calvert County Circuit Court judge had previously granted summary judgment in a 97-page opinion for two dentists after determining that the testimonies provided by the plaintiff’s two medical experts lacked credibility.

Facts of Frankel v. Deane

This dental medical malpractice case revolves around the extraction of a patient’s upper and lower wisdom teeth by a dentist. The patient consented to the surgery and was informed about potential complications, including pain, burning, and paresthesia affecting the lower lip, chin, and tongue.

If you have been the victim of medical negligence and you have a malpractice lawsuit pending, one of the primary questions you probably have is “how long will it take for my case to settle?” Our Maryland malpractice lawyers get this question all the time from our medical malpractice clients.

It is completely reasonable to ask. Medical malpractice victims frequently end up in acute financial distress as treatment bills pile up and they cannot work. Many of our clients end up desperately waiting for a settlement in their malpractice case to bail them out.  This makes the time frame for a settlement more important.

The Average Malpractice Settlement Can Take 18 to 24 Months

Mesenteric ischemia or bowel ischemia occurs when there is a sudden reduction in intestinal blood flow that does not meet the metabolic demands of the bowel. When caught early, bowel ischemia can usually be managed. Untreated mesenteric ischemia can cause bowel injuries and death.  Often the failure to diagnose mesenteric ischemia can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland.

Bowel Ischemia

Bowel ischemia is a medical condition where the blood flow to the intestines is blocked. This can be a result of several factors, including the buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, a blood clot, or an injury to the blood vessels in the intestines. When the blood flow is blocked, the tissues in the intestines can become damaged or even die, leading to serious complications such as perforation, infection, or even sepsis.

People tend to put a lot of trust in doctors and other medical providers and it can often be very shocking when they make major mistakes or provide negligent care. When you feel like you’ve been the victim of medical negligence or some type of mistake by a healthcare professional its only natural to want to take action. This typically means suing the doctor for medical malpractice. Many people who find themselves in this situation end up getting very frustrated when they can’t seem to find any medical malpractice lawyer willing to take their case.

Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers field hundred of inquiries from prospective medical malpractice clients each month. Like most malpractice firms, we end up turning away a large percentage of these. On this page, we will look at the top four most common reasons that we end up turning down a potential medical malpractice case.

  1. Malpractice Occurred but No Harm Resulted

Last week, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued its opinion in Hinebaugh v. Garrett County Memorial Hospital.  This case is a cautionary tale for medical malpractice lawyers and other Maryland lawyers who think they can handle malpractice cases.

Maryland, like many states, creates a lot of hoops that plaintiffs need to jump through in order to bring medical malpractice cases.  A lot of these requirements are ticky tacky details. But the big thing is a report and certificate of merit from a doctor who agrees there is a breach of the standard of care – the doctor did something a prudent doctor wouldn’t – and that the breach caused an injury.

Hinebaugh v. Garrett County Memorial Hospital

This case is barely worth reporting on, but I thought I would pass it along.

In Smith v. Palin, a Maryland federal court was asked whether the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office abused its discretion in extending the time for filing the expert certificate required by Maryland law several times.  Specifically,  the defendant’s argued that the plaintiff’s excuse that they had requested, but not yet received all studies from treating physicians in Pennsylvania – including photographs of condition at issue – did not constitute good cause.

Should it take that long to get the records in a case?  No, it really shouldn’t.  Should the HCADRO hold plaintiffs’ feet to the fire and kick cases out because plaintiff’s lawyer has not done what they are supposed to do?  I think not.  Moreover, it is clearly not an abuse of discretion for the HCADRO director to determine that the plaintiffs do have good cause.  Not for nothing, the plaintiff was a 16-year-old girl when the defendant allegedly recommended that she undergo a bilateral breast augmentation as a treatment for a tubular breast deformity.  I don’t know about you, but I would like to see the court extend the benefit of the doubt.  Which is exactly what Judge James K. Bredar does.

A three-year legal battle has ended in a $17.9 million settlement, though the money is nothing in comparison to the woman’s loss.

The facts here are absolutely tragic. In 2008, a now 35-year-old mother of two presented to a New York emergency room. She was diagnosed with a kidney stone and sent home with some painkillers. The next day, still in agonizing pain, she called 911 not once, but twice. The local medics did not take her back to the hospital.

On the following day, now two days out, her fiancé rushed her to the hospital. By this time, she had developed a sepsis infection that had spread through her body. She lapsed into a coma, and gangrene spread to her extremities. She awoke to having had both hands and feet amputated, and the loss of her sight in one eye.

The Pop Tort rages about the certificate of merit requirement that many states have in medical malpractice cases, citing a particularly onerous Connecticut merit requirement. The Pop Tort cites a news article of an awful injustice done to a woman who had her medical malpractice lawsuit dismissed.

After a long ride to the end of the article, we find out what the grave injustice was. The plaintiff sued her doctors for alleged breach of contract and infliction of emotional distress — not malpractice – and the court decided she needs a certificate of merit.

Personally, I’m fine with this. I think certificates of merit are actually a good thing. There is a knee jerk reaction: the certificate of merit makes it hard for plaintiffs and their lawyers to bring lawsuits. But not all things that are made harder are bad things. I know that there are some meritorious cases that don’t make the cut because discovery is needed to get the information for the certificate of merit in the first place. But good lawyering can find a way around that problem, at least in Maryland.

  • The family of a man who died at Massachusetts General Hospital has settled its case against the hospital for $850,000. The man died after nurses failed to respond to alarms on his cardiac monitor. This death has shed national attention on the dangers of “alarm fatigue’’ among hospital staff.
  • A few New York courts are taking a new approach to handling the 4,000 medical malpractice suits filed each year. The approach…settling cases early. The pilot program will be using a $3 million grant to train more judges in medical issues, and has been shown to cut court backlogs and save money, while also proving to be a cost savings to hospitals and directly impacting the indemnity insurance of doctors. One of the new rules approved for the medical malpractice cases, in order to expedite things – scheduling Settlement Conferences 45 days after court papers are filed.
  • The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued an opinion on its relatively new certificate of merit rule in Crawford v. Kavanaugh. Maryland has a similar rule and this opinion is a cautionary tale for both Tennessee and Maryland malpractice lawyers. The lesson: don’t take a malpractice case unless you know how to handle it.

A Massachusetts appellate court ordered a new trial after the trial court had granted a doctor’s motion for a directed verdict in a medical malpractice case.

Classic malpractice case. Patient goes to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who diagnoses a voice disturbance and reflux esophagitis. Patient gets speech therapy. Critical time passes. He gets a second opinion and finds out he has cancer, metastatic non-small-cell lung carcinoma. Tragically, he dies.

The trial judge found that Plaintiff’s medical expert witness, a radiation oncologist, had failed to provide testimony specifically staging Plaintiff’s loss of chance claim submitted to the jury. As I have written in the past, Massachusetts has a more liberal lost chance loss than Maryland does.