Medical mistakes happen. Even Baltimore, with its access to some of the nation’s top hospitals and medical centers, experiences incidences of medical malpractice.
In Maryland, 836 to 1,862 hospital deaths occur each year that are due to preventable medical errors, Public Citizen has said in a report.
While most doctors are competent, a small percentage of Maryland’s doctors are responsible for much of the payouts in medical malpractice cases.
According to data available from NPDB data, three percent of Maryland’s doctors have been responsible for 50.8 percent of malpractice payouts to patients. Overall, these 576 doctors, all of whom have made two or more payouts, have paid $317.3 million in damages. Conversely, 89.4 percent of Maryland’s doctors have never made a malpractice payout.
In a previous blog, we discussed three common types of medical malpractice claims; but, those aren’t the only types of medical malpractice claims in Maryland. In this blog, we discuss three more common types of medical malpractice claims.
The failure of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to communicate can be quite serious.
Nationwide, communication failures were linked to 1,744 deaths in five years, according to a medical malpractice study conducted by a research company affiliated with the insurer for Harvard-affiliated hospitals. Clinical and legal records in 23,658 malpractice cases from 2009 to 2013 were examined. Researchers identified over 7,000 cases where communication failures, either among medical staff or between medical staff and patients, harmed patients.
In one instance, a nurse failed to tell a surgeon that a patient experienced abdominal pain and a drop in the level of red blood cells after the operation — alarming signs of possible internal bleeding. The patient later died of a hemorrhage.
In a recent case in Maryland, Mark Armacost sued his neurosurgeon, Reginald J. Davis, M.D., for malpractice and a communication error – the failure to obtain informed consent.
Surgical errors can include cutting a nerve during the surgery, operating on the wrong body part or leaving a sponge or instrument inside the body. Surgical errors can also include the surgeon accidentally perforating an organ and failing to repair it.
In one Maryland case, a woman whose bowel was accidentally “nicked” during surgery, died several weeks later while suffering a great deal of pain from infection and the leakage of bile into her body. Her survivors sued for medical malpractice.
And, as any Maryland medical malpractice attorney can tell you, plaintiffs’ lawyers certainly have experience with legal actions involving doctors who operate on the wrong leg or leave an instrument inside a patient.
Wrong site surgery, which includes surgery performed on the wrong side or site of the body, wrong surgical procedure performed and surgery performed on the wrong patient is another type of surgical error and is of great concern.
Wrong site surgery has increased over the years from 15 reported cases in 1998 to 592 cases reported by June 30, 2007. Of these, surgical errors most commonly occurred in orthopedic or podiatric procedures, general surgery and urological and neurosurgical procedures.
Emergency Room Malpractice
Maryland, with its big urban city of Baltimore, is no stranger to busy emergency rooms. The hubbub and urgency of needing to treat people with the myriad wounds that can result from accidents, gunshots and stabbings, can play a role in emergency room errors in Maryland’s hospitals.
Some common types of errors in emergency room errors include releasing or transferring – some say “dumping” – a patient because of lack of insurance or funds to pay; misdiagnosing a medical condition; delayed treatment and failure to order appropriate tests.
Heart attack, stroke, infection, and meningitis tend to be the conditions most likely to lead to an emergency room misdiagnosis.
If you’re dealing with one of these scenarios, you might have a valid claim under Maryland medical practice law.
An experienced Maryland attorney can help you to evaluate your Maryland medical malpractice claim. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience representing people who need help after medical errors have occurred. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.244.5068 or via our website for a free consultation.