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Plaintiff Alleges Prescribed Medication Caused Infertility in Maryland Medical Malpractice Action

In some situations, a health care provider may violate the standard of care by not informing a patient of the potentially serious side effects of a medication.  In a September 24, 2021 case, the plaintiff brought claims for medical malpractice and lack of informed consent against his doctors, alleging that he was not properly informed of the high infertility risks of his prescribed medication.  The case came before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on review of the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of one of the defendants.

In March of 2010, when the plaintiff was in his mid-20s, he was hospitalized for cough and shortness of breath.  Thereafter, the plaintiff sought treatment from a pulmonologist, who prescribed increasing dosages of Cytoxan.  The plaintiff’s care was assumed by a second doctor in February of 2011, who continued treatment with Cytoxan, without significant improvement, until the plaintiff was fully weaned off the medication in May of 2013.

In 2016, the plaintiff was diagnosed with infertility due to Cytoxan toxicity.  The plaintiff brought a medical malpractice action in 2018 against the two doctors who treated him.  The plaintiff alleged that he was not properly informed of the high infertility risks of Cytoxan, and as a result, he did not have his fertility monitored or take any other action to preserve his ability to have children.  The circuit court granted summary judgment as to the claims of the first doctor as time barred.  The plaintiff appealed that decision.

Subject to limited exceptions, a Maryland medical malpractice action must be filed within three years of the date the injury was discovered by the plaintiff, or five years from when the injury was committed, whichever date is earlier.

On appeal, the court reviewed testimony from the parties’ medical experts, who agreed that, more likely than not, the Cytoxan did cause the plaintiff’s infertility, and that the plaintiff was already sterile when he started treatment with the second doctor in February of 2011.  The medical experts disputed whether or not, at that point, the plaintiff’s infertility could have been reversed.  The appeals court found, however, that these disputed issues did not affect the limitations period with respect to the claims against the first doctor.

The appeals court concluded that the plaintiff’s alleged injury was committed by at least February of 2011, when the experts agreed that the plaintiff was sterile, and as such, the statute of limitations for claims against the first doctor were triggered at that point.  The court went on to hold that, insofar as the plaintiff filed his suit more than seven years later, and had not asserted in his Complaint that any exception applied to toll the limitations period, the claims against the first doctor were properly dismissed.

If you suspect that your health condition was caused by medical negligence, you can evaluate your legal options with a Maryland injury attorney.  At Foran & Foran, P.A., we can provide advice and help people recover compensation after faulty medical procedures, semi-truck and auto accidents, and other personal injury claims.  Contact us online or call (301) 441-2022 and request a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.

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