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Greenbelt Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Gross negligence may play a role in a medical malpractice claim

If a doctor breaches his or her duty to a patient by failing to adhere to the appropriate and applicable standard of medical care, then that doctor may be found negligent and held liable for any harm caused to the patient. Gross negligence refers to actions that go beyond standard negligence. Maryland doctors who are grossly negligent may act so recklessly that even the average person would be aware that their behavior is inappropriate.

If you and your attorney decide to file a medical malpractice claim based on gross negligence, you will have to establish the same four elements you would have to prove for a standard negligence case: duty, breach, causation, and damages. However, for gross negligence, both the physician's breach of duty to the patient must be extreme and obvious to non-physicians. For example, you don't have to be in the medical field to know that operating on the wrong part of the body or leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient during surgery is a clear violation of the doctor's duty to his or her patient.

Survey: burned-out doctors twice as likely to report mistakes

Physician burn-out occurs when a doctor feels extremely exhausted and loses his or her ability to care about and connect with patients. According to a national survey, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, many physicians are burned-out and making medical mistakes because of their condition.

Researchers surveyed over 6,000 doctors in the United States and found that more than half of them said they were experiencing burnout. These burned-out doctors are twice as likely to report errors as other doctors. Researchers found that the more tired a doctor is, the more likely he or she was to make a mistake when treating patients. The study also revealed one out of 10 physicians surveyed admitted to making a major medical error in the past three months.

Jury awards $135M in medical malpractice suit

When a doctor's act of negligence leads to a medical error, the patient is the one who suffers. Unfortunately, even the smallest error can cause severe illness, injury, permanent disability, or even death.

This is the situation in one case where a children's hospital and an orthopedic surgeon were recently sued for medical malpractice after negligent medical care reportedly left a young girl partially paralyzed. The jury awarded the plaintiff $135 million, which the plaintiff's attorney said was the largest single medical malpractice verdict awarded in the U.S.

Surgical error involving minor leads to lawsuit

For most parents, nothing is worse than seeing your child in pain. It can be even more devastating for parents to know that this pain was caused by a doctor's negligence and improper care. A father who found himself in this position is suing a hospital and a physician on the east coast after a surgical error caused his son significant pain.

Meditation can help resolve medical malpractice claims

Generally, when a doctor's negligence causes harm, victims immediately think of suing them for damages. However, going to court in Maryland can be a costly, time-consuming affair that victims of medical malpractice may not be able to handle. Fortunately, there is another alternative that can save victims time and money while still allowing them to obtain the closure and damages they need after such a traumatic incident. This alternative is referred to as mediation.

In a mediation, the victim of alleged malpractice and the doctors who are accused of acting negligently, as well as other parties responsible for the alleged malpractice, work with a neutral third-party in hopes of reaching to a resolution that all parties can live with. Mediation lets the disputing parties and the mediator control many aspects of the process, as opposed to litigation, where the judge makes the decisions.

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.

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Law Offices of W. Scott Sonntag, P.A.
Maryland Trade Center III
7501 Greenway Center Drive # 460
Greenbelt, MD 20770
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