Maryland Woman’s Medical Malpractice Claims Dismissed After Missing Statute of Limitations

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals of Maryland decided a case that may leave a lasting impression on the State’s medical malpractice law. In the case, Wilcox.v. Orellano, the plaintiff was a woman who was referred to the defendant surgeon for treatment of what she was told was likely to be breast cancer.

hospital-7-230579-mThe defendant surgeon performed a surgery on the plaintiff’s breast. After the surgery, the plaintiff noticed that her breast was swollen and tender. She visited her oncologist who, after seeing the condition of her breast, thought it better not to perform the radiation and prescribed the woman antibiotics in hopes that the infection would subside. She took the antibiotics for some time and then, a few months later, called the defendant surgeon twice about her condition that was not improving. Each time the defendant did not suggest any course of treatment, merely telling her to continue taking the antibiotics.

A few months later, the plaintiff moved to North Carolina and began visiting a new oncologist, who, after performing a series of tests, confirmed that she had the MRSA virus. For the next six months, the woman fought the infection, which required she make daily visits to health care facilities. She ultimately ended up going into surgery to have the affected tissues removed.

The Plaintiff Voluntarily Dismissed the Lawsuit

In her case, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant surgeon was negligent in failing to provide her with the proper level of post-surgical care, resulting in an exacerbated diagnosis. However, when answering the complaint, the defendant pointed out that the plaintiff had failed to attach an expert report, as is required in all Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits. Upon receiving the defendant’s response, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit with hopes of refiling it after obtaining the necessary report.

Upon Refiling, the Plaintiff Missed the Statute of Limitations

The plaintiff did obtain the necessary expert report, but by the time she refiled the lawsuit the applicable statute of limitations had expired. The defendant asked the lower court to dismiss the case on this basis, and the court agreed, dismissing the case.

The plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals of Maryland, asking the court to reconsider the lower court’s ruling based on the fact that she initially filed the lawsuit in time, and that the dismissal of her case was voluntary. However, the appellate court agreed with the lower court and affirmed the dismissal of the woman’s case. The court reasoned that, while there are occasions when a statue of limitations can be tolled, this was not one of them, and the plaintiff’s lawsuit was properly barred by the lower court.

Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, as you can see from the above example, Maryland medical malpractice law contains very strict requirements that must be followed, or a case may be forever forfeited. To learn more about how you may be able to recover financially for substandard medical care you received, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Mother of Child Born with Cerebral Palsy Claims Doctor Was Negligent, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 11, 2015.

Substantial Lawsuit Brought Against Kaiser After Allegedly Botched Delivery, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 22, 2015.

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