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Greenbelt Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Is the hospital responsible for my doctor's negligence?

When a patient is admitted to a hospital, it is unlikely that only one doctor will be responsible for their medical care. Whether a patient stays for a few hours or a few months, chances are that multiple doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and other health care professionals will interact with him or her in some capacity.

If a medical professional is negligent and causes harm to a patient in Maryland, then he or she may be held liable for the patient's damages. But these individuals are not the only ones who may be liable. Hospitals and healthcare facilities may also be held responsible for the negligent actions of their employees under certain circumstances. Even doctors can be held responsible for the actions of their staff. In legal terms, this concept is referred to as "respondeat superior," or vicarious liability.

"Dancing" dermatologist facing multiple malpractice suits

Many Maryland patients who undergo surgery are placed under anesthesia. As a result, they trust that their surgeon will be completely focused during the operation and will perform in accordance to the applicable standard of care. However, some surgeons are more interested in joking around and having fun than they are with their patient's procedure, as can be seen by one recent case. There, a board-certified dermatologist, known for sharing videos of herself singing and dancing during surgery, recently made national news when she was sued for medical malpractice by several patients.

The doctor apparently had a public channel on YouTube, where she would post videos of herself dancing and rapping with surgical instruments in hand and even while cutting into a patient. All the videos have since been deleted from the doctor's channel, but a news network apparently has since obtained video of the doctor engaging in questionable conduct while treating patients. In one video, the doctor allegedly zoomed in on a patient's bare buttocks while dancing along with her assistants, who sometimes served as backup dancers. Another video showed the doctor standing over a patient without a surgical mask or gloves. The doctor is accused of posting more than 20 videos to her channel for promotional purposes.

Mother wins medical malpractice lawsuit following newborn's death

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always difficult, but it can be especially difficult when the person you lose is your own child. A new mother on the east coast recently had to face the horrible reality of losing her newborn baby. The mother alleged, in a lawsuit against a local pediatric health facility, that her doctors should have diagnosed and tested her baby for complications related to whooping cough, or pertussis. The baby was just over one month old when she passed away.

Despite whooping cough being fairly common in newborns and young children, the woman's doctors failed to diagnose her child's illness in a timely fashion. The woman apparently was experiencing symptoms herself and asked doctors to test her child multiple times over the course of a few visits. It is possible that if doctors had started treatment sooner, her baby could have survived.

Man awarded millions for hospital's negligence

Maryland doctors who are negligent may be liable for any injuries or illnesses that occur as a result of their negligence. In general, the more severe the injury or illness, the higher the payout can be for the victim of the medical negligence and his or her family. One man recovered $7.9 million in damages after suing a hospital for its negligent care of his back injury.

The man reported to a local urgent care facility, owned by the hospital, for treatment after injuring his back while moving freight at work in 2014. He claimed that hospital employees failed to recognize his symptoms and required him to move his body so they could run several tests. The man says that these movements caused him to become paralyzed from the waist down.

Bill Paxton's family claims wrongful death in lawsuit

When a doctor provides negligent care to patients, they could be sued for wrongful death if the patient passes away because of the doctor's treatment. Our readers may remember seeing news reports that actor Bill Paxton underwent heart surgery to replace a valve and repair an aortic aneurysm in early 2017, and experienced complications before dying of a stroke 11 days after the surgery. Paxton's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon and hospital responsible for treating Paxton, claiming that they were negligent in their diagnosis, management and treatment of Paxton.

The family claims that the doctor and hospital misrepresented information regarding Paxton's surgery, stating that the hospital and doctor failed to fully disclose that the doctor lacked experience with the high risk and unconventional surgical approach used to treat Paxton. Additionally, the family claimed that the doctor was away from the hospital when Paxton started to experience complications and did not arrange for continuous care, resulting in a delay in treatment.

Getting assistance with your failure to diagnose claim

Failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing a patient is a serious form of medical malpractice. With the help of Attorney W. Scott Sonntag, medical malpractice victims in Maryland may be able to file a claim against their physician to recover medical expenses and other damages.

Diagnosing medical conditions and injuries is a critical part of a physician's job. Unfortunately, many physicians fail to diagnose or misdiagnose patients' conditions, causing them significant harm. A failure to diagnose can turn what was once a treatable condition into a condition so serious that it results in permanent disability or death.

"Burned-out" physicians may provide poor quality care to patients

Doctors are often under a great deal of stress, working long hours and having to perfectly perform surgery in high-pressure situations. This demanding lifestyle can result in what is known as "physician burnout." Generally, doctors experiencing burnout can experience exhaustion and depression, lose the ability to care about their patients and become unable to find meaning in the work they do. Unfortunately, many burned out physicians in Maryland end up making critical surgical errors that cause harm to their patients.

Physician burnout can impact not only the doctors experiencing it, but also their patients. Doctors who are burned out are unable to relate to their patients on an emotional level, which may result in an inability to pay attention, loss of memory and inability to function mentally when treating their patients. As a result, their patients end up receiving poor quality care that may cause significant injury or illness. Studies have shown that doctors and nurses experiencing burnout are more likely than other medical professionals to make an error.

Defenses doctors may use in medical malpractice claims

Patients who suffered injuries or illness due to a physician's negligence or error may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent physician and the hospital where they were treated. If you decide to ask an attorney to handle your case, your attorney will collect evidence to attempt to prove that your doctor did not adhere to the accepted standard of care and that the negligence caused you harm.

As you and your attorney build your medical malpractice case, you should also consider the defenses your doctor and hospital may use to refute your claims. Preparing for the most common defenses will help strengthen your case and give you a better chance at financial recovery.

Parents sue after doctors fail to diagnose son's cancer

Misdiagnosing someone's illness or condition, or failing to diagnose it and treat it in a timely fashion, can cause a patient to suffer much more than they would have if the condition had been diagnosed properly. A recent news story detailed how a young boy is reportedly paralyzed on his right side after doctors' failure to diagnose a tumor in the boy's brain. The boy's parents are now suing two hospitals, doctors and other medical staffers for failing to conduct necessary scans and tests, failing to note the boy's symptoms on his chart and other forms of medical negligence. The parents hope to recover at least $75,000 in damages and punitive damages.

The parents took their 5-year-old son to two hospitals after he reported feeling sick during a church service and exhibited nausea, slurred speech and various other symptoms. The boy was diagnosed with a strep throat and was sent home with antibiotics by the first hospital. The boy's symptoms worsened later that night, and his parents took him to the second hospital's emergency room.

Did my physician breach the standard of care owed to me?

No matter what type of medical treatment you undergo, your physician is required by law to adhere to a specific standard of care when treating you. If you plan to file a medical malpractice claim, a big part of your case will be determining whether your doctor adhered to the appropriate standard of care during the course of your treatment.

As a patient in Maryland, it can be difficult to know what a physician is expected to do when treating you. Generally, it will depend on the expectations of the medical community. If a doctor fails to act as a competent physician in the same field would act in similar circumstances, the doctor may have failed to provide treatment in accordance with the proper standard of care. As a result, their behavior may be considered medical negligence and they could be liable for medical malpractice if their negligence caused the patient harm.

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Law Offices of W. Scott Sonntag, P.A.
Maryland Trade Center III
7501 Greenway Center Drive # 460
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: 443-718-9931
Fax: 410-730-1615
Greenbelt Law Office