Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers’ negligence can harm the patients they’re there to help. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals’ medical care falls below the acceptable standard of care.
If you have questions about medical malpractice in Maryland, we’re here to help. Below, the team at Zirkin & Schmerling Law answers common questions about medical malpractice and how to take legal action.
If you have additional questions or need insight into your unique situation, please call us 24/7 at 410-753-4611 or schedule your free consultation online.
There are many compelling reasons to file a medical malpractice claim. First, medical malpractice causes bodily injury and pain. You may have lifelong medical conditions, scars, and emotional anguish that deserves full and fair compensation.
Plus, these medical errors can create extremely expensive medical bills for affected patients. You shouldn’t be ruined financially simply because a doctor or other healthcare professional made a mistake. Healthcare facilities have insurance policies for exactly this reason.
Finally, your claim helps protect other people right here in Maryland. By bringing attention to an error-prone doctor or negligent facility, you’re doing a service to protect other innocent victims. Of course, the details of healthcare settlements are usually kept private, so your personal healthcare information is not at risk of becoming public.
The Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Statute is found within the Maryland Code under Title 3 – Jurisdiction/Special Causes of Action – Health Care Malpractice Claims Section 3-2-A-01 to 3-2-A-10. It defines malpractice in Maryland, outlines how to file a claim properly, lays out the judicial review process, and describes rules and limitations regarding judgments.
In Maryland, most healthcare assistants must be supervised by doctors. However, nurse practitioners are different and may perform certain tasks independently, like writing prescriptions, providing emergency care, and performing corrective measures.
This means nurse practitioners operate independently of the doctors in the same practice, so legal action against a nurse practitioner is not necessarily a legal action against a doctor too. However, you may have a cause of action against both the nurse practitioner and the doctor depending on your situation.
Common types of medical malpractice in Maryland include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, failure to properly administer treatment, failure to receive informed consent, improperly prescribing medication, surgical errors, premature discharge, and failure to properly take patient history into account. Some cases involve birth injuries, spinal cord damage/paralysis, improper amputation, internal organ damage, antibiotic toxicity, untreated infection/sepsis, and malpractice-related strokes.
There are many variations of medication malpractice claims depending on your unique situation, but the types listed above represent the major categories of claims malpractice attorneys tend to see most often.
Any healthcare provider can be held liable for medical malpractice including doctors, specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, delivery room nurses and doctors, pain management doctors, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, cardiac surgeons, and many others. When certain healthcare workers are performing their service within a doctor’s practice, the doctor can be held liable in addition to their employee.
Proving a medical malpractice case usually involves the “four Ds.” These are duty, dereliction, damages, and direct cause. Duty is the doctor’s legal duty to provide proper care. Dereliction is their breach of this duty of care. Damages are your financial costs and other damages, and they must be proven to be directly attributable to medical negligence and nothing else.
Under Maryland’s Healthcare Malpractice Claims law, malpractice claims must follow certain rules to be valid. A claim typically must be filed within three years of the time the malpractice-related injury was discovered.
Many types of errors and mistakes can be the basis of a medical malpractice case. A healthcare professional may fail to recognize the signs of a life-threatening health emergency, fail to properly provide the appropriate treatments, give you the wrong medication, make an error during surgery, or forget to take your patient history into account as they make medical decisions. A surprising number of malpractice cases involve premature discharge, which means discharging someone from the hospital too early before is medically appropriate.
Informed consent is every patient’s right to be informed about certain information before they agree to medical treatment or procedures. According to the Maryland Attorney General, “Under Maryland’s common law doctrine of informed consent, a mentally competent adult is entitled to give or withhold consent to medical treatment after receiving a fair and reasonable explanation of the proposed treatment.”
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider breaches the standard of care, which equates to negligence for doctors and healthcare professionals. This standard of care is what a reasonably competent healthcare provider with similar training and experience would do under the same or similar circumstances.