New Bill Would Hold Baltimore Physicians More Accountable for Malpractice

According to a January 2017 report on WBAL, Senate Bill 195 would make doctors more accountable to their patients. The bill would help patients know whether their doctor is actually insured. For example, the bill would have helped a patient who underwent liposuction and a tummy tuck back in 2005. That year she wanted to look great for her son’s wedding, but the minor surgery turned into an alleged 10-hour nightmare. Her doctor allegedly kept her overnight at a surgery center. She died three days later at home. An autopsy revealed that she died from cardiac arrhythmia.

The woman’s family sued the doctor for medical malpractice, but they received nothing even though the judge ruled in their favor. Unfortunately, the doctor who performed the surgery did not have medical malpractice insurance. The doctor later made a settlement for $450,000, and then filed bankruptcy.

Senate Bill 195, if passed, would require every doctor practicing in Maryland to indicate to the state board of physicians whether or not they have insurance. The information would then be available to the public.

The woman’s family wanted the bill to go even further. They wanted all doctors to be mandated by law to have medical malpractice insurance. Another bill in the state house may make it mandatory for all doctors to have medical malpractice insurance.

What is Medical Malpractice in Baltimore?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional provides a patient with substandard care. In Maryland, all patients are supposed to receive standard medical care. It does not have to be the best, but it must not cause additional harm. Additional harm would be if a patient sought treatment for a heart pain and the doctor amputated his or her arm instead.

Substandard care is negligent care. Negligence is the foundation for a medical malpractice lawsuit. An injured patient can receive damages, in the form of money, for the substandard care received.

Recoverable Damages in a Baltimore Medical Malpractice Claim

Damages available in a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Additional past, current, and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Decreased earning capacity
  • Funeral and burial expenses if the patient died because of the substandard treatment

In Maryland, an injured patient can receive any economic damages caused by the medical professional’s negligence. An injured patient can also receive what is known as non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are a little harder to calculate. A lawyer cannot simply hand over a bill as proof of the damages sustained. An example of non-economic damages includes pain and suffering.

State personal injury law caps non-economic damages at $770,000. If the patient died because of the substandard care received, the non-economic damages are capped at $962,500.

Contact Hassan, Hassan & Tuchman, PA about Your Baltimore Medical Malpractice Claim

You or a loved one sought medical treatment, not addition harm. Contact us about your medical malpractice claim.

Proposed Legislation in Baltimore May Make it Easier for Doctors to Admit a Mistake Without Assuming Liability

According to a February 2017 Baltimore Sun article, the Maryland General Assembly may approve legislation aimed at changing the medical malpractice law. It may make it easier for a healthcare professional to admit that treatment went wrong without having that statement be admissible in court.

Many supporters of the proposal argue that it would put more money in the hands of the patients because health care professionals could create treatment plans more quickly. For example, an injured patient in the report sustained an injury during a procedure because of a defective instrument. The physician quickly apologized. The hospital paid for the injured patient’s medical bills and provided a long-term compensation plan for treatment. He never filed a lawsuit.

However, opposition to the bill argue that the change to the medical malpractice would make injured patients more vulnerable. It would keep that medical malpractice out of court and away from a jury’s hands.

For instance, an injured patient would be asked to agree to the healthcare professional’s arrangement while he or she was recovering from injuries. This would not be the best time to make an important decision. The injured patient may not know his or her legal rights and agree to a settlement without understanding that he or she may give up the right to sue later.

Current Maryland malpractice law does give some protection to healthcare professionals already. They can express regret or apologize for what happened without their statements being admissible in court.

However, if they do acknowledge they did something wrong, their statement would be admissible in court.

If approved, the bill would require hospitals to create a safety and early intervention program to cover injured patients. They would have to inform the patient’s family about what happened and apologize for the medical mistake. In addition, they would have to inform the injured patient and their family about the legal right to have a lawyer during negotiations.

Medical Malpractice in Baltimore Involves a Healthcare Professional Providing Substandard Treatment

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional provides treatment that deviates from standard treatment. The substandard treatment causes an additional injury. The type of substandard treatment can vary from providing the wrong diagnosis to leaving a surgical instrument in a patient’s body or amputating the wrong limb.

Prove Medical Malpractice Happened with the Help of Hassan, Hassan & Tuchman, PA

Current law allows medical malpractice claims to be settled outside of court. If that happens, the injured patient gives up the right to sue in exchange for compensation to pay medical bills and other expenses.

If the case goes to court, we must prove:

  • The defendant owed a duty to you to avoid doing harm
  • The defendant breached that legal duty to you
  • You were injured because of the breach of legal duty
  • You are owed damages

Damages you will be able to obtain depend on the facts of your case and include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for help.

Proving Medical Negligence in Baltimore

A Baltimore man won $3.9 million in a negligence case, according to an October 2014 report on Baltimore CBS. The man claimed he was left paralyzed from the mid-chest down because of the postoperative medical treatment he received. The 64-year-old man and his wife were awarded the damages after a weeklong jury trial.

According to the report, the man underwent successful spinal cord surgery at Saint Agnes Hospital in 2012. He claimed the neurosurgeon incorrectly restarted him on a blood pressure medication. The medication allegedly led to the man having a stroke in his spinal cord.

The defendant in the case, the neurosurgeon, argued the blood pressure medication did not lead to the stroke. Instead, he claimed it was a blood clot that led to the stroke. However, the man’s attorney counter-argued that the medical records did not support the neurosurgeon’s arguments.

The defendant and his attorneys were not available for comment at the time of the report. It is not known whether the defendant planned to appeal the verdict.

Medical Malpractice Involves Providing Substandard Care to a Patient in Baltimore

Medical malpractice is the failure on a medical professional’s part to provide standard care to a patient. Standard care does not mean top-notch medical care. It does not mean the medical professional has to be nice to the patient during treatment. Standard care means providing treatment that does not cause additional harm to the patient.

In Baltimore, every medical professional is required to provide treatment that does not cause additional harm. Additional harm is defined as another injury. For instance, if a medical professional treating a patient for a broken arm amputates the limb instead of placing it in a cast, that is an additional injury and not standard care.

A Plaintiff Must Prove That Medical Negligence Occurred

A patient is typically injured at the time he or she visits a medical professional. That is why the patient has the burden of proving medical negligence actually happened. Maryland has specific elements a patient must use as a guide when proving a malpractice case in court. The elements are:

  • The medical professional had a legal duty to provide standard care to the patient. This means the medical professional was hired to treat the patient and not merely offer advice.
  • The medical professional breached the legal duty by providing substandard care.
  • The medical professional’s breach of legal duty was the reason the injury to the patient occurred.
  • The patient is owed damages such as pain and suffering, lost wages, decreased income and medical bills.

Hassan, Hassan & Tuchman, PA are Your Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorneys

You expected to be treated competently by a medical professional, not sustain further injury. You have the right to sue the medical professional who injured you. The at-fault party may want to settle. This means you do not have to go to court. You still need an attorney to make sure you receive a fair settlement. Whether you want to sue or settle your medical malpractice claim, contact us. We will represent you.