Because nursing homes generally offer medical care to residents, Maryland medical malpractice claims may arise in the nursing home setting. In a recent medical malpractice case, a family brought a medical malpractice claim after their elderly mother fell. The eighty-nine-year-old patient fell after she got out of her hospital bed, suffering a serious head injury. She had surgery but never fully recovered from the head injury. After her death a few years later, her daughters filed a medical negligence claim against the hospital. The case went to trial, and the court found in favor of the hospital, but the daughters appealed.
On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the trial court was wrong in finding that the hospital’s failures to comply with the standard of care did not cause the patient’s injuries. At trial, the plaintiffs’ expert, a doctor at Johns Hopkins Health System, testified that the hospital breached the standard of care concerning fall-risk assessments by failing to use a bed alarm and by failing to make hourly comfort rounds. In contrast, the hospital’s expert testified that the hospital met the standard of care and that such measures would not have prevented the patient’s fall.
The appeals court agreed with the hospital, finding that the plaintiffs failed to prove the element of causation. The court explained that the plaintiffs failed to show that the lack of a bed alarm proximately caused the patient’s fall. The plaintiffs were required to show that there was a causal connection between the patient’s injuries and the hospital’s actions. The two experts presented conflicting testimony regarding the effectiveness of bed alarms, and the court noted that the plaintiffs’ expert testified that she did not know whether a bed alarm would have made any difference in this case. Therefore, the court found that the evidence was “too tenuous” to support a finding that the use of a bed alarm or of increased comfort round would have prevented the fall.
Medical Malpractice Cases in Nursing Homes
Health-care providers play an important role in Maryland nursing homes. In some nursing homes, too few health care professionals are on staff to provide adequate medical care. In other cases, the health care professionals fail to provide adequate care to residents. In Maryland medical malpractice claims, just as in general negligence claims, a plaintiff has to prove the existence of a duty, a breach of the applicable standard of care, causation, and damages. As demonstrated in the case above, a failure to prove each element will result in a dismissal of a claim.
Contact a Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer
If your loved one was injured and you believe the nursing home may be at fault, contact a Maryland nursing home lawyer as soon as possible. Do not waste any time before speaking to an experienced nursing home attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. The dedicated attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen assist nursing home residents and their families in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and throughout Maryland. Call Lebowitz & Mzhen for a free, no-obligation consultation today. You can reach us by email or by calling us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949.
More Blog Posts:
According to New Study Inadequate Staffing Levels Plague Nursing Homes in Maryland and Nationwide, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 28, 2018.
Allegations of Abuse in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 7, 2018.