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Greenbelt Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

ICU transfers may result in medication errors

When a medical patient in Maryland receives the wrong type or dosage of medication, the patient's treating physicians and medical staff, as well as the hospital itself, may be liable for medical malpractice. A study led by a clinical pharmacy specialist at Christiana Care Health System found that 45.7 percent of patients who were transferred from the intensive care unit to a non-ICU experienced a medication error. Many errors were connected to anti-infectives, hematologic agents and intravenous fluids, electrolytes or diuretics.

According to the specialist, 28 percent of errors involved a continuation of medication with an ICU-only indication, making this the most common error. An indication with no pharmacotherapy and pharmacotherapy with indication were also common errors. The study also showed that the number of medication orders and the need for renal replacement therapy were two of the main factors that affected medication errors.

How can you establish your doctor's negligence in court?

Medical patients in Maryland have the right to receive competent medical care from the medical professionals on your case. If you are injured or harmed as a result of negligent health care, you have the right to sue for medical malpractice. As a victim, you and your attorney, if you have one, must prove that the parties you are suing were negligent when administering care and caused you harm as a result.

MLB prospect sues for failure to diagnose shoulder injury

If a physician in Maryland fails to accurately diagnose an injury or illness in a timely fashion, the delay in treatment can cause serious complications. In the case of professional baseball pitcher Andrew Rohrbach, doctors' failure to diagnose his shoulder injury may have cost him his career. Rohrbach is now filing a lawsuit against the Colorado Rockies for negligence with regards to his shoulder injury.

Rohrbach was pitching in college and was drafted in the ninth round by the Rockies in 2014. He had already had Tommy John surgery on his shoulder. Rohrbach claimed the Rockies' medical staff ran an MRI on his right shoulder during an entrance physical and scanned it again two months later. When Rohrbach got an independent MRI on the shoulder shortly thereafter, the results apparently showed a tear of his right labrum.

Don't navigate medical malpractice situations on your own

Visiting the hospital takes a tremendous amount of trust. While some visits may involve nothing but a simple checkup, others can be much more serious. Surgeries, diagnoses, medication... there are many situations that require the utmost care and focus on the part of the hospital staff. Most times, everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately, there are instances in which doctors make mistakes. These errors can result in a wide range of complications, some of which may be life-threatening.

If these wholly unfortunately events happen to you, you are not alone. Attorney W. Scott Sonntag has been assisting those involved in medical tragedies for more than three decades. Spanning a wide range of emergency situations including heart surgeries, brain surgeries, and many other medical procedures that involve a high level of risk, Scott Sonntag has the experience to know exactly what expectations are expected to be met in such medical cases.

Heart surgeon found negligent

Doctors in Maryland have a responsibility to their patients to provide them with the best care possible, in accordance with the accepted standards of the medical community. Doctors who fail to meet this criteria may be cited for medical malpractice. A prominent heart surgeon has been accused of negligence after a surgery left a patient in a coma.

The 70-year-old patient, who was admitted to the doctor's hospital with intense chest pains, underwent surgery in 2012 to replace his aortic heart valve, as well as repair an aortic aneurysm. As a result, the patient lost blood and ended up in a coma. He apparently remains in a coma, approximately six years later.

250,000 U.S. deaths caused by medical errors

According to a 2016 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, over 250,000 deaths, or 9.5 percent of all deaths over an 8-year period, were caused by medical errors. Unfortunately, the actual number may be much higher, as other studies have found the number of medical error deaths to be closer to 440,000.

Determining exactly how many deaths are caused by doctor errors and other mistakes has proven to be a challenge over the years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines death statistics using death certificates and only collects data for deaths caused by disease, morbid conditions and injuries. However, medical examiners and other professionals do not mention human errors and system failures on death certificates.

Victims of medical errors can sue for damages

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, or CRNAs, administer anesthesia to patients under the supervision of a doctor. If an anesthesiologist fails to properly administer the anesthesia, the patient could suffer severe long-term consequences. In some cases, the patient may end up in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives or even die as a result of the anesthesiologist's medical negligence. If you or a loved one is a victim of an anesthesia accident, Attorney W. Scott Sonntag may be able to help you file a claim for damages in Maryland.

Doctors and anesthesiologists may make a number of mistakes when administering anesthesia. One of the most common mistakes is failing to properly monitor the patient while they are under anesthesia and afterwards. Anesthesiologists may also fail to properly administer the anesthesia by failing to give the patient the proper dosage or failing to account for the patient's allergies or other drugs in their system.

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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