In Maryland, malpractice actions against health care providers may be subject to Maryland’s Health Care Malpractice Claim Act (Act). The Act provides procedures and requirements that govern Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits, some of which differ from other areas of personal injury law. In a September 19, 2018 malpractice case, the defendant appealed the jury’s verdict and award of $250,000 in damages in favor of the plaintiffs. One of the arguments presented by the defendant was that the plaintiffs failed to present a medical expert with sufficient qualifications, as required under the Act.
The defendant in the case was an OB/GYN practice that had provided prenatal care to the plaintiffs during a high-risk pregnancy. After recurring complications, the plaintiffs’ baby was born prematurely, at twenty-four weeks. Sadly, she died just two days after her birth. The plaintiffs filed suit against the that provided prenatal care to the plaintiffs and their infant, alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their wrongful death claim. The defendant appealed the matter to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
The plaintiff in a Maryland medical malpractice must prove the following: (1) a duty requiring adherence to a standard of care; (2) a breach of the standard of care; (3) causation of the plaintiffs’ injury as a result of the breach; and (4) damages. In virtually all medical malpractice claims, a plaintiff’s proof that the defendant breached the standard of care must be offered through the testimony of an expert witness.