The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland granted a defendant hospital’s motion to dismiss a medical malpractice lawsuit, Haskins v. Washington Adventist Hospital, Inc. A woman filed suit as administrator of her late husband’s estate, alleging that inadequate care by hospital personnel caused his death. The court held that she did not comply with the Maryland Health Care Claims Act (MHCCA), which requires plaintiffs to file a claim with a state agency as a condition of filing a lawsuit. It dismissed the suit without prejudice, meaning she is permitted to re-file.
The decedent, Virginia resident Ernest Haskins, checked in to Washington Adventist Hospital (the “Hospital”) in Takoma Park, Maryland on April 9, 2010. He was there to receive treatment, including surgery, for a spinal fracture and metastatic multiple myeoloma cancer of the spine. He allegedly contracted a MRSA infection (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) due to the nursing staff’s failure to follow standard of care procedures. MRSA is a bacterial infection that is resistant to common antibiotic treatments. It is usually spread by skin-to-skin contact. Because of the infection and its risk of contagion, Haskins was initially unable to find a nursing home willing to accept him.
Haskins also suffered stage II sacral decubitus ulcers, commonly known as bedsores, during his stay at the Hospital, causing him severe pain and discomfort. After several months in the Hospital, a nursing home in Richmond, Virginia agreed to admit Haskins. A third-party ambulance transferred him there, a five-hour trip over 129 miles. The Hospital allegedly failed to provide the ambulance crew with a full account of the severity of Haskins’ condition, including the bedsores. Haskins’ bedsores therefore went untreated until he arrived in Richmond. He required surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital on July 2, and he died shortly afterwards.