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Who Is Responsible When Medical Malpractice Occurs?

Hospital emergency room

Knowing who is responsible when medical malpractice occurs is important. There are many different types of negligence in the world, but few are more harmful than when the negligent party is someone we are supposed to trust.

However, this is what happens in the event of medical malpractice and someone sustaining serious injuries or conditions. We trust doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals to care for us and look after our health. When they fail to provide that level of care, however, it can result in long-term issues that leave patients enduring the aftermath.

Doctors Who May Be Negligent in Your Medical Malpractice Case

In many cases, it is the doctor who is most often negligent. This means they acted negligently in their care. Some of the potential actions you might have suffered could include misdiagnosing a condition, ordering wrong tests, performing the wrong procedure, and more.

When a Hospital Is Negligent in Your Medical Malpractice Case

In some situations, hospitals may have systems in place that cause confusion in communication and file transfers. For instance, an error may be present in the system that causes a doctor to receive the wrong medical records on a patient. This may lead to the wrong treatment or procedure being performed.

Other ways in which a hospital may be at fault is when they are understaffed or fail to properly ensure training or experience with the people they hire. This puts patients at risk of not receiving the care and treatment they need.

Other Medical Professionals in Your Medical Malpractice Case

Some other medical professionals who may be held accountable for the injuries that patients sustain include the anesthesiologist, obstetrician, and nurses. Obstetricians can be negligent during a patient’s pregnancy or labor. Anesthesiologists may be negligent in providing too much medication or not identifying allergies.

No matter the case, a medical professional is expected to be safe and provide patients with the best possible care. Failure to do so means the patient experiences lifelong damages. They should be able to pursue legal action for the negligence involved.

Maryland’s Medical Malpractice Statute Defines a “Healthcare Provider”

In Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-2A-01 of our state’s medical malpractice laws, a health care provider who could get sued for medical malpractice includes a:

  • Hospital or related institution
  • Hospice care facility
  • Assisted living center
  • Medical day care center
  • Freestanding ambulatory care center
  • Physician (medical doctor)
  • Dentist
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath (doctor of osteopathy)
  • Chiropractor
  • Podiatrist
  • Licensed or registered practical nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Certified licensed clinical social worker

If one of these medical professionals or facilities harmed you through a mistake or failure to act, you might have a medical malpractice claim.

How Long do You Have to Sue a Health Care Provider for Medical Malpractice?

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-109 limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit if you got injured because of “the rendering of or failure to render professional services by a healthcare provider.” The general deadline is five years from the time the injury happened or three years from the date the injury was discovered, whichever is earlier.

Some exceptions can extend the deadline, for example, when a young child or person who is mentally incompetent gets hurt because of medical malpractice. Exceptions to the rule are rare. You do not want to delay talking to your medical malpractice attorney. It takes time to investigate and prepare for filing one of these lawsuits.

What Is Medical Negligence in Maryland?

When a person suffers harm because a health care provider’s conduct fell below the standard of care, the injured individual might have a claim for medical malpractice. The “standard of care” is often a disputed issue. Generally, a health care provider should act similarly to how members in the same profession with similar levels of experience and training would act toward their patients.

For example, when a patient comes to their family practice doctor for the evaluation of a condition, the doctor should do at least what the standard procedures are for family practice physicians evaluating that type of condition.

An Example of How Medical Negligence Can Harm Someone in Maryland

Let’s say that a patient complained of:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Being thirsty more than usual
  • Urinating more often than before
  • Being hungry all the time
  • Fatigue

These are the classic symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but they are also symptoms of several other conditions. A family practice doctor would likely order blood tests of the patient’s blood sugar levels and other chemistries or send the patient to a specialist for a consultation.

If the family practitioner instead did nothing and told the patient to return in a year, the doctor might get sued if the failure to diagnose, treat, or refer the patient to a specialist caused harm to the patient. Sometimes, not doing something that the doctor should do is malpractice.

Let’s say that the doctor did order blood tests but misinterpreted the abnormal blood sugar results. Making a basic error like that could fall below the standard expected of family practitioners.

Call Our Medical Malpractice Firm for Guidance After Suffering from Negligence

All healthcare professionals can make mistakes without necessarily committing malpractice. The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. The law does, however, expect them to provide the quality of care their profession expects in their situation.

At Brown & Barron, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys work hard to help you in your time of need. You should be able to trust your doctors to care for you, and our team is here to hold negligent parties accountable for the damages they cause.

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