Hand Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit in Baltimore

Mullins v. Suburban Memorial Hospital

Man with a cast on his handThis surgical malpractice lawsuit was filed pro-se by a man in Baltimore. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on April 14, and it is the 177th medical malpractice case filed in 2017 in Maryland.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff is in a car accident and his hand is severely injured. An ambulance takes him to Suburban Memorial Hospital, where he receives an antiseptic and a splint is applied. The hospital staff informs him that the hand specialist is tied up, and that they are attempting to get permission to transfer him the Union Memorial Hospital Hand Center. However, the doctor needing to approve the transfer is in surgery.

After almost two hours, the physician at Suburban tells the man that the Hand Center at Union Memorial will not accept him and that at Suburban, they have no one to treat him. Three hours after he originally arrived at the hospital, an orthopedic surgeon examines him. The surgeon tells the man he will fix it and will return in a few hours to do the surgery. The plaintiff is taken to prepare for surgery.

The next morning he wakes up with a large external fixture on his hand. He is discharged. Five days later, he seeks post-operative treatment at a different Hand Center in Virginia. He is immediately told that the screws placed are penetrating his tendons and that his finger has been immobilized. The man is left with a finger that is useless.

He files this claim, alleging the hospital violated statutes by not accepting the transfer and that the surgeon negligently did the surgery with a lack of tools and a lack of skills.

Additional Comments
  • One way to win this case is to get support from the subsequent treating physician. In a case like this, if the subsequent treating surgeon will testify that there was injury as a result of the breach of the standard of care. In this case, the plaintiff takes the novel step of paraphrasing what he claims he was told by a hand specialist he saw at the University of Virginia. While interesting to the few people who will read this complaint, the real question is what that doctor is willing to testify to in a deposition if this case gets this far.
  • Plaintiff needs to file a Certificate and expert report or this case will be dismissed before it goes to Circuit Court. Some plaintiff's without a lawyer no not know this. This man appears to understand the rule on some level based on some of the language in his complaint.
  • The plaintiff is also bringing a failure to transfer case. Usually, these cases arise when there are resources at another hospital that would give the patient more options or better treatment. This is exactly what the plaintiff argues in this case. But the surgeon is going to defend the case by arguing that he was fully competent and had the resources for the surgery. Accordingly, the doctor is going to be judged as if he had the necessary resources to perform the procedure. His defense will not be that he did the best he could with limited resources.
  • This is another hand surgery malpractice case. This case was also filed in April 2017. 
Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore
Defendants
  • An orthopedic and plastic surgeon in York, Pennsylvania
  • A plastic surgeon in Chevy Chase
  • An orthopedist in Chevy Chase
  • Union Memorial Hospital
  • Suburban Memorial Hospital
  • An ER doctor at Suburban with Bethesda Emergency Associates, LLC
  • Bethesda Emergency Associates, LLC
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Suburban Memorial Hospital
Negligence
  • Breach of the standard of care due to denial of access to needed specialized skills, techniques, facilities, and tools
  • Leaving the plaintiff without treatment and no concern for when treatment would be available
  • Surgery by a non-specialist resulting in poor outcome with lifelong effects
  • Failure to recognize that a higher level of treatment needed to be provided
  • Proceeding with attempted hand repair
  • Failing to secure a transfer
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence - Medical Malpractice
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • None at this time
Plaintiff Firm/Attorneys
  • Pro-se
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