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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

This post will go over some basic legal concepts that you need to know about doctor-patient confidentiality.

Confidentiality between patients and physicians is a fundamental tenet of modern healthcare and medical practice. Knowing that your doctor will keep your personal information confidential is absolutely necessary for effective medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. Without this safeguard, patients would not feel free to disclose certain things to their doctors.

Most people are generally aware of the concept of doctor-patient confidentiality. We sort of just expect our doctors to keep our personal information confidential and we understand that there are some ethical rules that require them to do that. But few people are very familiar with the legal underpinnings of doctor-patient confidentiality. Confidentiality is more than just an ethical ideal that physicians are supposed to adhere to for their patients.  Patients have an affirmative legal right to confidentiality. In fact, most states have statutory laws protecting patient confidentiality.

In Thomas v. Shear, the Court of Appeals held in an unreported opinion that a malpractice claim alleging a surgical clip was left inside a patient in 2000 was barred by the statute of limitations. Although the surgical clip was not actually discovered in the plaintiff’s body until 14 years later, her own expert witnesses offered testimony suggesting that her statute of limitations began to run in 2006 at the latest.

Facts of Thomas v. Shear

This medical malpractice case began in May 2000.  The plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure performed by the defendant surgeon at GBMC.

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 ideas.  But, really, it was one of those things you really can’t KNOW unless you are living it.

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.

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 $830,000.  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 $1,037,500.  The cap applies to the year the negligence or death occurred, so it will be less for incidents before 2020.   (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. It 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. It is also a leading source of very severe and disabling brain damages.

hie birth injury

HIE Birth Injury Cases

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 hospitals play a big role in that ranking.