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Medical Error Reporting

This article underscores the abject failure of medical error reporting programs – and laws that require reporting – because no one is really trying to enforce the laws that already exists in 27 states, including Maryland, requiring hospitals and other facilities to report serious medical malpractice.

Every once in a blue moon, a hospital does get caught. Last year, Doctors Community Hospital in Prince George’s County was fined $30,000 by Maryland health regulators after failing to notify them that a patient had died and that at least seven others suffered serious harm as a result of medical malpractice. But the practical reality is that a $30,000 fine is a drop in the bucket for a large hospital and the chances of getting caught covering up medical malpractice in Maryland are extremely low.

As I discussed yesterday, a process tort of failing to disclose or conceal would be a viable solution. But MedChi lobbyists are never going to let the Maryland legislature create a statute that creates a new tort and the “stare decisis is king” Maryland Court of Appeals is not likely to create a controversial new tort anytime soon.