Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When getting medical treatment, undergoing surgery, or searching for a diagnosis, patients should have the right to expect to receive a professional standard of care. Certainly, one should be able to seek medical help without fear of being harmed by the professionals with whom they entrust their care. Unfortunately, injury from preventable medical error is a significant problem, leading to nearly 100,000 deaths each year. For those sustaining injury, illness, or loss as a result of medical negligence, a skillful, assertive Maryland medical malpractice lawyer can provide sound legal advice and quality representation to help injured patients and grieving families to obtain the compensation they deserve. Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, victims may hold accountable the medical professionals whose negligence caused their suffering.

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Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

Unfortunately, not every course of medical treatment will have the desired result, and some patients are unable to enjoy full recovery from their injuries, illnesses, or other medical conditions. However, they should be able to trust their physicians, nurses, and other medical caregivers to provide a professionally acceptable standard of care and to work diligently to avoid preventable medical error. While a bad medical result does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice has occurred, if a doctor or medical professional fails to exercise a professional standard of care, and if that failure results in harm to the patient, the injured patient or his or her surviving dependents have the right to pursue financial compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. The statistics demonstrating the prevalence of medical negligence are startling. A study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) attributes 98,000 deaths annually to preventable medical errors. This makes medical malpractice the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to the deaths from medical error each year, the Congressional Budget Office reported 181,000 severe injuries from medical malpractice in 2003, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates 15 million occurrences of medical injury each year.

An American Association of Justice report asserts, "People have been led to believe that there are hundreds of thousands of medical negligence lawsuits every year and only a handful of genuine medical errors. In reality, the reverse is true. There are very few medical negligence lawsuits, and hundreds of thousands of patients dying from preventable medical errors." The claim is supported by statistics showing that from 2004-2006 there were 38,363 payouts to victims of medical malpractice compared to 238,337 deaths due to preventable medical error. Surgical mistakes, failure to diagnose, prescription error, and birth injuries are among the most common examples of medical negligence resulting in patient harm. These mistakes can and should be avoided, and a skilled, experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney can help determine if negligence was involved.

Physician Error and Hospital Mistakes

Many mistakes made by doctors and hospitals are completely preventable if those responsible for a patient's treatment and care follow appropriate protocols. Failing to follow appropriate procedures can lead to a breakdown in communication or lack of information to appropriately assess and treat a patient. Common causes of physician error include sleep deprivation or fatigue, lack of education or training on new medical devices or technologies, depression or burnout, high patient caseloads, and carelessness. Errors may also occur if hospital policies are insufficient to appropriately handle staff communication and patient monitoring and care. Examples include fragmented or disconnected reporting systems, cost-cutting measures such as high patient to nurse ratios, and poorly designed facilities. The Virginia medical malpractice attorneys at Price Benowitz LLP can assist with malpractice actions in that state as well.

Surgical Mistakes and Amputation Error

Among the most gruesome and horrifying tales of medical malpractice are those involving surgical error. These acts of negligence include wrong site surgery, wrong patient surgery, amputation of the wrong limb, and surgical implements left inside a patient's body. According to the Joint Commission Center on Transforming Healthcare, as many as forty wrong site, wrong side, and wrong patient procedures happen each week in the United States. Surgical injuries can be disfiguring, permanently disabling, or fatal. They are often attributed to physician fatigue, miscommunication between medical professionals, surgeon distraction or inattention, carelessness and lack of planning, and poor decision making under pressure.

Failure to Diagnose, Failure to Monitor, Delayed Diagnosis, and Misdiagnosis

If a patient's condition goes undiagnosed, he or she is unable to receive proper treatment for the care or cure of the disease. Any delay in properly diagnosing a medical condition can lead to prolonged illness or complications from the disease or condition. Sometimes, a condition may be asymptomatic, or the symptoms of an illness present differently than normal. In these cases, it may be difficult or even impossible for a doctor to properly diagnose a condition immediately. If the professionally acceptable standard of care is upheld, no malpractice has occurred. However, if a physician should have been able to accurately diagnose a condition based on the symptoms, patient history, and information available, then a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis could be an indication of medical negligence. If you believe you've been a victim of such negligence in the state of Maryland, you should contact a Maryland medical malpractice attorney right away.

Prescription Error

One of the most common types of medical malpractice or medical negligence is medication error, which harm more than one million people annually. Medication errors cause 1.5 million preventable Adverse Drug Events (ADE) and lead to 7,000 deaths each year. It is estimated that these errors cost $3.5 billion annually. Medication mistakes include administering the wrong dose or wrong medication, using the wrong method for administering a drug, prescribing drugs without considering a patient's medical history or risk of side effects, and prescribing medications that may cause dangerous drug interactions. Medication errors are generally careless errors which could be avoided with thorough investigation of a patient's medical history, careful attention to other medications a patient may be taking, consideration of potential drug interactions when prescribing drugs, clearly written prescriptions, and clear communication with nurses and others who may administer drugs. Solutions may include bar coding of medications and equipment, Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) systems, and smart pumps.

Birth Injury

For most families, the birth of a child is a joyous event. However, in 7 out of every 1,000 live births, the infant suffers a birth injury, resulting in 28,000 incidents of birth injury per year. Birth injury occurs during delivery and may result in serious, permanently disabling conditions. Birth injuries may be the result of pregnancy complications or natural causes, or they may result from labor and delivery errors. A medical malpractice attorney can help determine if there were errors made on the part of the medical staff, but typical Obstetric errors may include:

  • Failure to monitor the baby
  • Improper use of vacuum or forceps
  • Failure to detect signs of fetal distress
  • Delayed C-section
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to diagnose birth complication.

Common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury or Erb's palsy, fractures, facial paralysis or nerve damage, and brain injuries including swelling, bleeding, and oxygen deprivation. Birth injuries may be permanently disabling or potentially fatal. The cost of lifetime care for a child suffering severe, permanent brain damage from a birth injury can be astronomical. Holding the medical professionals responsible for the injury financially accountable for their negligence can provide the child with the medical care he or she deserves. Additionally, enforcing liability of negligent obstetricians and delivery nurses can send a clear message that helps protect other babies and their families. Please visit or contact our attorneys in Washington DC for more information about pursuing a case in the District of Columbia.

Product Liability

The term product liability refers to the legal responsibility of those involved in the design, production, manufacture, distribution, and sale of a product to ensure that the product is safe for consumers. Products that can trigger serious accidents or illnesses if they are dangerous or defective include, but are not limited to, baby products (such as cribs, insurance carriers, strollers, high chairs and car seats), children's clothing and toys; ATVs; pools and spas; space heaters; and fireworks.

A dedicated product liability attorney will work to protect the safety and interest of all consumers when an individual is injured by defective products. If a product has a design flaw, a manufacturing defect, inadequate safety precautions, or if the manufacturer is guilty of faulty marketing, that injured consumer may be entitled to restitution. If you have suffered an injury or the death of someone you love due to a dangerous or defective product, please visit our page here for more information.

Locations

Montgomery County

Located to the north of Washington D.C., Montgomery County is one of the largest and most affluent counties in Maryland, and it is the tenth wealthiest county in the United States. A major biotechnology center, the county is home to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes. Montgomery County is served by five hospitals:

  • Montgomery General Hospital in Olney
  • Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring
  • Suburban Hospital in Bethesda
  • Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park
  • Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville

Prince George's County

Prince George's County, Maryland, borders Washington, D.C., to the north, east, and south, and is part of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. The county boasts the Washington Redskins' home field, FedEx Field in Landover. Prince George's County is home to five hospitals:

  • Doctors' Community Hospital in Lanham
  • Fort Washington Hospital in Fort Washington
  • Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly
  • Laurel Regional Medical Center in Laurel
  • Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton

Anne Arundel County

The county line between Anne Arundel County and adjacent Howard County is the population center of the state of Maryland. Anne Arundel County is the home of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade. Three hospitals serve Anne Arundel County:

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis
  • Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie
  • Harbor Hospital in Brooklyn

Howard County

Howard County is the third most affluent county in the United States, and Columbia/Ellicott City ranked second among Money magazine's "America's Best Places to Live." The town of Jessup, which lies partly within Howard County and partly within the adjacent Anne Arundel County, is Maryland's population center. Howard County General Hospital, the county's only hospital, is located in Columbia.