Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Maryland nursing home lawyers have been battling arbitration clauses for years. These clauses deny nursing home residents the right to take nursing homes to court for harm that they cause to the residents such as physical abuse and neglect and sexual assault.

Almost everyone realizes nursing homes force these agreements on residents as a precondition of admission. They are just not fair.

In 2016, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided Peeler v. FutureCare, which was a Miller & Zois case. In this case, FutureCare tried to use the arbitration clause to prevent a wrongful death claim. Our firm won at the trial level and won before the appellate court, making new clear law that a nursing home agreement cannot compel wrongful death beneficiaries to arbitrate. This new case pushes Maryland law further from enforcement of these draconian agreements.

Defense lawyers in love blaming empty chairs.  A jury trial is about assigning blame and the easy out for the defense is to get the jury to blame another doctor who is not named at trial.  (This is also why plaintiffs’ lawyers get maligned over naming too many defendants — sometimes there is no choice.)

Usually, the doctor’s lawyer will not provide expert testimony to blame the doctor.  Normally,  the allegation is made indirectly with the hope that the jury blames a non-defendant doctor on their own.

This is a good strategy.  Jurors like reaching their own conclusions without getting beat over the head and most malpractice defense lawyers do not try to directly blame the empty chair for fear of running afoul of Maryland law.

You are hurt. You are having a baby.  You need surgery.  You want to pick the best possible hospital in Maryland to treat you, right?   To make the right choice, you need some idea of the quality of the hospital that is treating you.

The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit watchdog organization, conducts biannual analysis and provides safety grades of health care systems found in each state across the country.

Leapfrog has done so since 2012. But the Leapfrog rankings excluded Maryland until 2017.

Leg and arm amputation cases attract personal injury and malpractice lawyers in any jurisdiction, but particularly in states where there is a cap on noneconomic damages.  This is because there are great economic costs associated with artificial limbs and the injuries often have an impact on the victim’s ability to earn a living.  In most states, these costs are not subject to a cap on damages.

Life with a Limb

Fortunately, most of us do not have experience with what life is like living without a limb.  Our lawyers have seen what victims endure up close.  You can look at this day in the life video that our client has kindly allowed us to post.  This will give you some idea.  But, really, it was one of those things you really can’t KNOW unless you are living it.

Pharmacies serve a critically important function in our health care system as prescription medication use is more widespread than ever.

Around 5 billion prescriptions get filled every year in the U.S.  The average pharmacist fills hundreds or even thousands of prescriptions every day and this responsibility involves more than just counting out pills.

There are more prescriptions than ever.  There are also more medication error mistakes and lawsuits in Baltimore than there have ever been.  This post gives you the inside story of what you can expect in pharmacy error lawsuits in Baltimore.

Any discussion of how much money a medical malpractice case in Maryland is worth begins with our cap on non-economic damages in malpractice.  The pain and suffering cap for 2019 in Maryland medical negligence cases is $815,000.  This same $815,000 cap applies to wrongful death cases where there is only one surviving family member.

If there are two or more surviving family members, then the non-economic damage cap rises to $1,018,750.  The cap applies to the year the negligence or death occurred so it will be less for incidents before 2019.   (Click on the first link above to see the malpractice cap in Maryland for each year.)

What Maryland’s Damage Cap Means and Does Not Mean

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) (also known as perinatal asphyxia) is a type of brain injury that results when the supply of blood and oxygen to a baby’s brain is temporarily cut off during childbirth.

What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Encephalopathy is a medical term used to describe various conditions or diseases that result in damage to the brain. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is an injury to the brain specifically caused by a combination of (a) an interruption or reduction in oxygen supply (hypoxia), and (b) a reduction of blood flow (ischemia). With perinatal HIE the reduction of blood and oxygen flow to the baby’s brain takes place during or immediately after childbirth. HIE is a very dangerous condition that requires an emergency response by doctors and hospital staff. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is one of the leading causes of infant deaths during childbirth. HIE is also a leading source of very severe and disabling brain damages.

Medical malpractice is when a physician, or other professional, renders substandard medical care resulting in harm to the patient.  Professional malpractice is a civil wrong or “tort” for which injured patients can be entitled to legal compensation.  The damages caused by medical malpractice can be very significant.

Poor medical care can easily result in debilitating physical harm and even death.  In fact, a recent study by Johns Hopkins estimated that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. each year.  Baltimore has some of the best hospitals and doctors in the entire country.  But medical malpractice occurs even at places like Johns Hopkins.

Everyone always talks about how fortunate we are to have such great hospitals in Baltimore.  I’ve said that myself and felt blessed to have the treatment options I have had.  Yet Maryland ranks 48th in hospital safety in Maryland and Baltimore hospital play a big role in that ranking.

The conversation surrounding the #MeToo movement on social media has made many reconsider inappropriate behavior inside and outside of professional environments. The much-publicized trial of disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar – and his conviction on seven counts of sexual abuse– shed light on the kind of incidents experienced by many female patients. Here’s what you need to know about sexual assault by a treating medical professional.

Sexual assaults by doctors are not necessarily medical malpractice claims.  They are assaults.  But when we have these cases, we are likely going to file them as malpractice cases.  The defenses are often grounded in malpractice and we are often bringing negligence claims against the medical practice or hospital for not properly supervising the doctor in light of what is often prior complaints against the doctor.  We have a sexual battery case in suit now where the doctor required a chaperone due to prior allegations but one was not provided with our client.  The doctor eventually lost his medical license.

What Do We Consider Sexual Assault?

A Cesarean section, commonly called a “C-section”, is often performed when the baby or the mother is in distress. A C-section enables a doctor to remove the infant immediately in order to prevent an injury and then allows the doctor to provide treatment as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, there may be a delay in performing a needed c-section.

The standard of care when delivering a baby requires the obstetrician or midwife to correctly assess the fetal monitor tracings and to recognize any non-reassuring patterns. If the baby is in trouble, doctors need to take action quickly. A timely performed C-section is often the best path to protecting the child from a loss of oxygen that can lead to a brain injury or death.

There is some debate among obstetricians as to when a C-section is appropriate.  There is no dispute that the standard of care calls for cesarean sections in many cases, including, repeat C-sections,  multiple births, a labor and delivery which is expected to be challenging, when the child’s expected size is disproportionate to the mother’s pelvis, uterine tumor obstructions, or breech or transverse presentation of the neonate. Obstetricians also agree that there are cases of fetal distress or maternal disorders that mandate a C-section.