When Medical Care Leads To Harm, Is It Malpractice?
Medical care involves unknowns, which can make it difficult to prove that malpractice occurred when a patient has suffered after being treated.
At Futrovsky, Forster & Scherr, Chartered, in the Washington, D.C., area, we investigate and bring claims in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. itself. Below, we have listed some common medical malpractice claims. We have also summarized some of the legal principles that apply to medical malpractice cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia. If your medical-related injury case took place in Virginia, then ask us to explain the process of bringing a claim in that state.
Examples Of The Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
The following list is not comprehensive, but it is reflective of the types of claims we prepare on behalf of our clients who have suffered harm in medical settings. They include:
- Misdiagnosis of malignant melanoma
- Failure to properly treat malignant melanoma
- Vascular (vein) injury during lumbar surgery
- Vascular injury during surgical repair of an aorta (open)
- Improperly performed endovascular repair on an aorta
- Brachial plexus (nerve) injury during lymph node dissection (surgery)
- Improperly performed intubation of patient and insertion of contrast material
- Failure to address pregnancy-induced hypertension (preeclampsia)
- Falls in health care settings, including hospitals
- Decubitus ulcers (pressure sores) in health care settings
- Incorrectly filled prescription medications
The liable parties in these and other cases may be physicians, hospitals, pharmacists and other health care professionals.
Medical Malpractice In Maryland
To prevail in a medical malpractice case, an injured party is required to prove that a health care provider was negligent. That is, the injured party must prove that the health care provider breached the applicable standard of care in rendering treatment, diagnosing a condition or otherwise providing care to the patient and that the patient suffered injury or death as a result of that breach.
To establish the applicable standard of care, the injured party is typically required to engage a health care provider (expert) who practices in the same or a similar area of medicine as the offending physician, surgeon, physician assistant, physical therapist or other health care provider. Although some cases resolve without the need for filing a lawsuit, frequently, the filing of a lawsuit is necessary in order to effectuate a just result for the victim or the family of a victim of medical negligence.
In the state of Maryland, before filing a lawsuit against a health care provider in a court of law, the claiming party is required to file a statement of claim with an administrative agency called the Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO), which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. In the HCADRO, the claiming party must also file a certificate of a qualified expert and the report of a health care provider who practices in the same or a similar area of medicine as the offending physician, surgeon, physician assistant, physical therapist or other health care provider. The certificate of a qualified expert is required to set forth the opinion that one or more health care providers breached the applicable standard of care and that the claiming party suffered injury as a result of that breach. The report must set forth the basis for these opinions.
After the certificate of a qualified expert and report are filed, the claiming party may pursue arbitration before HCADRO or have the case transferred to an appropriate court of law, usually a county circuit court or the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Should the case be transferred to a court, it is in this court that the case will ultimately go to trial.
Medical Errors And Legal Claims In Washington, D.C.
In Washington, D.C., before filing a lawsuit against a health care provider in a court of law, the claiming party is required to place the offending health care provider on notice of the claiming party’s intention to file a lawsuit. Only after 90 days have passed may a lawsuit be filed in a court of law, typically the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The case will ultimately go to trial in one of these courts.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and expensive, and an injured party requires experienced lawyers who have the resources and knowledge to obtain a just result. At Futrovsky, Forster & Scherr, Chartered, we have the resources and the knowledge to answer your malpractice questions, such as those below.
What constitutes medical malpractice?
There are four primary factors that need to be present to qualify for a medical malpractice claim. There needs to be a duty of care that a medical professional has to follow while treating a patient, a mistake or breach of duty that the professional made during that care, an injury caused by this breach, and damages that resulted from the injury.
Can a misdiagnosis qualify as malpractice?
Misdiagnosis is a common example of medical malpractice. If a doctor fails to properly diagnose a patient by not spending enough time with the patient, not listening to important symptoms or diagnosing a patient with the wrong illness, it may qualify as malpractice.
Can a family member sue if their loved one died from malpractice?
Each state has its own laws about who can file a malpractice claim if the patient has passed on. If your loved one has died as a result of medical malpractice, it is likely that you will be able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your loss and to cover the costs of damages in your case.