Court Determines Case Alleging Injury after Improperly Sterilized Surgical Instruments Was Properly Considered a Medical Malpractice Case

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Louisiana issued a written opinion in a case involving a man who developed a serious infection after having a routine back surgery performed at the defendant’s hospital. In the case, Dupuy v. NMC Operating Company, the court ultimately determined that the case was properly considered a medical malpractice case, and it was thus subject to the additional procedural hurdles applicable to all medical malpractice cases.

surgical-instruments-81489_960_720The Facts of the Case

After his surgery, the plaintiff filed a claim against the defendant hospital, alleging that the hospital failed to properly sterilize the tools used during the surgery. The plaintiff sought damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life, and for his wife’s loss of society, support, and companionship.

In response, the hospital explained that it was a qualified medical provider under the state’s medical malpractice statute, and therefore the plaintiff needed to comply with the statute. Since the plaintiff had not complied with the requirement to submit the case to a medical review panel, the defendant argued that the case was prematurely filed.

The trial court allowed the plaintiff’s claim to proceed, holding that the case was not considered a medical malpractice case. However, on appeal, the ruling was reversed.

Malpractice or Traditional Negligence?

Like Louisiana, Maryland requires medical malpractice plaintiffs to comply with additional procedural requirements before a court is legally permitted to hear the case. One of the biggest hurdles is the requirement that an expert report be submitted, explaining that in the expert’s opinion, the plaintiff’s case has merit.

If this report is not submitted, a plaintiff’s case may be dismissed. Generally speaking, a judge will provide the plaintiff with an opportunity to comply with the requirement, but repeated failures to comply with this requirement may result in dismissal of the case with prejudice. Even if the court does give a plaintiff another chance to obtain the expert’s report, the plaintiff will have their case delayed and likely incur additional costs as a result of their oversight. It is therefore incredibly important that a dedicated medical malpractice attorney handle these cases from the beginning.

Have You Been Injured by a Medical Professional’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you recover the costs associated with your injuries. It is important to keep in mind that these cases are often highly scientific and may require multiple medical experts to testify in order to explain the defendant’s negligence to the jury. The skilled attorneys at the Washington, D.C. and Maryland personal injury firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience representing clients in all kinds of medical malpractice cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Product Liability Appeal against Food Manufacturer Dismissed for Failure to Preserve Alleged Error, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, March 23 2016

Plaintiff’s Product Liability Case Against Rifle Manufacturer Revived on Appeal, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, March 2, 2016

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