Plaintiff Challenges Filing Deadline in Maryland Medical Malpractice Action for Staph Infection

The procedural requirements of a Maryland medical malpractice action are an important part of pursuing a lawsuit after negligent health care.  In some cases, failing to meet the filing deadlines can have an adverse outcome, including dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims.  In a January 18, 2019 appeal, the court was asked to determine whether the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were banned by the statute of limitations.

The plaintiff in the case had suffered a leg injury in a jet ski accident and was transferred to the defendant’s hospital for surgery in July of 2010.  Following the surgery, the plaintiff was tested for staph bacteria, and the results came back negative.  A few days later, evidence of a staph infection appeared.  The plaintiff was then discharged to an acute rehabilitation center in Virginia.  After a week at the rehabilitation center, the plaintiff was transferred back to the defendant’s hospital due to the worsening infection.  Over the next few years, the plaintiff was treated multiple times for staph infections and ultimately, underwent a total knee replacement in 2013.

In June of 2013, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendants, and the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court.  The plaintiff had a certificate of qualified expert from a doctor who was prepared to testify that the defendants deviated from the standard of care.  However, finding that the doctor was not qualified to testify as to one of the issues, the court dismissed the claim.

Although the plaintiff was given leave to file a new certificate within 60 days, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the claim and filed an action in Maryland Circuit Court in January of 2016.  The court ultimately concluded that, under the applicable statute of limitations, the plaintiff was required to bring the suit three years from the date he discovered the staph infection in 2010.  After the court dismissed the suit as untimely, the plaintiff appealed.

In Maryland, a medical malpractice action must be filed either five years from the date of the injury, or three years from the date the injury was discovered, whichever is earliest.  The injury is discovered when the plaintiff knew, or should have known, of the wrong that had occurred.

After reviewing the facts, the appeals court concluded that by August of 2010, the plaintiff knew he had a staph infection, and that the infection was connected with the hardware bolted into his bone from his leg surgery.  As such, the filing deadline of August 2013 had passed.  Further, because the federal action was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, the court ruled that there was no exception available to extend the deadline.

The Maryland injury attorneys at Foran & Foran, P.A. represent negligence victims and their families in lawsuits against those responsible for their injuries.  Whether you have been hurt in a car or truck crash, misdiagnosed by a medical professional, or suffered a premises liability accident, we can provide the legal guidance you need.  Schedule a free consultation regarding your injury case by calling (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff Allowed Extension to Meet Procedural Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published June 2, 2017

Court Considers Whether Injury Claim Falls Under Maryland Health Care Act, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published June 2, 2017