The Procedural Hurdles in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Most people know that when someone is injured in a Maryland accident of any kind, state law allows them to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. These personal injury suits can arise from car accidents, defective products, slip and fall accidents, or even dog bites. One type of claim is called a medical malpractice lawsuit, which arises from negligence on the part of a medical professional. For instance, if a surgery goes poorly because the surgeon was reckless, or if a medical professional fails to follow safety protocol when administering medication, they may be held liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These claims, however, can sometimes be more procedurally complicated, which can create barriers for plaintiffs if they do not follow procedural requirements carefully.

For example, take a recent state appellate case concerning the procedural requirements for filing a medical malpractice suit. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The deceased was in treatment at a hospital and receiving seven medications when she was transferred to a residential treatment facility. The hospital provided the treatment facility with the prescriptions for the medications, but not the medications themselves. The facility did not administer any of the drugs, and four days after the transfer, the patient died—allegedly from “a severe withdrawal syndrome.” The plaintiff brought suit against the hospital and the facility, alleging that they were negligent and either knew or should have known that suddenly failing to administer the medications was likely to cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including heart arrhythmias and seizures that could lead to her death.

In response, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for failing to comply with the requirements of a medical malpractice action. Many states have specific procedural requirements that a plaintiff must meet to file a medical malpractice suit. The defendants argued that the plaintiff did not meet these requirements, but the plaintiff in response argued that they did not need to meet these requirements because they were filing a claim for ordinary negligence, not medical malpractice. The trial judge denied the motion to dismiss, agreeing with the plaintiff that the complaint could be for ordinary negligence. On appeal, however, the appellate court reversed. The court found that a medical malpractice suit is one that arises from an act directly related to medical care or services, and that required the use of professional judgment or skill. In this case, the plaintiff’s claims clearly arose from such acts—the failure to render medical care or services. Because the court found that the claim was a medical malpractice one, and not an ordinary negligence one, the plaintiff was required to conform to other procedural requirements. The motion to dismiss was thus granted, since the plaintiff failed to do so.

Contact a Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you are considering filing a Maryland medical malpractice suit, reach out to the experienced personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys have decades of experience navigating the tough procedural requirements in medical malpractice claims, and will work hard to help you hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for your injuries. Call us today at 800-654-1949 to learn more.

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