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Medical Malpractice

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When we go to a doctor or hospital to treat an illness or injury - or to simply follow up on worrisome symptoms - we trust that they will do everything in their power to make an accurate diagnosis and provide us with appropriate treatment. If surgery is required, we likewise trust the surgeon to perform it with all the skill and care that is required of their profession.


Most of the time, this trust is rewarded. Unfortunately, in other cases, a doctor's medical mistake or negligence can result in an even greater injury or illness on a patient, and sadly in some cases, cause death. If you or one of your loved ones has been the victim of medical malpractice, our experienced medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick can help you fight for the justice and fair compensation you deserve.

To schedule a free medical malpractice case evaluation in Bethesda, Rockville or the greater areas of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., call (301) 251-1286 today. Rockville medical malpractice lawyer Stuart Plotnick understands the complexity and seriousness of such personal injury cases. That's because he has worked on so many medical malpractice cases in Maryland and surrounding areas for decades. There's no substitute for hard work, no substitute for results.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a legal term used to describe a situation where a medical professional acted in a negligent or reckless manner, resulting in the injury of a patient. Any time a medical professional causes injury or illness to a patient because they failed to provide necessary treatment, failed to perform a medical procedure properly, or failed to properly diagnose the patient's condition, they can be held responsible for medical malpractice. Essentially, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or hospital staff member fails to meet the basic standards of medical care.

There are many different causes and types of medical malpractice cases. Some of the most common medical malpractice cases involve:

  • Birth injuries - Newborn children sometimes sustain serious injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Due to a mistake made by surgeons or doctors before or during childbirth, a newborn baby can suffer from cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy or other lifelong disabilities. You can learn more about birth injuries and your legal rights below.
  • Misdiagnosis - When a doctor does not diagnose an illness, treatment can be delayed for weeks or months, sometimes even years. When that situation occurs, the patient's illness or disease can get progressively worse. That's why it's so important for doctors to diagnose - and treat - a disease early. This is especially true when it comes to misdiagnosing cancer. Learn more about misdiagnosis or late diagnosis cases below.
  • Medication errors - Powerful medications can have serious side effects if the patient taking them doesn't need them. Even taking the right medication in the wrong dosage can be dangerous. Other times, people are harmed due to the adverse side effects of two different medications being taken together. Learn more about prescription errors below.
  • Delay of treatment - The sooner medical professionals treat someone with a serious injury or illness, the better. Unfortunately, some people wait hours in emergency rooms - or days, or weeks, or even longer at home - to receive life-saving operations. We realize everyone cannot be treated at once. But seriously injured or sick people need to be treated in a timely manner.
  • Surgical errors - Surgeons sometimes make mistakes. Perhaps they operate on the wrong patient or perform the wrong procedure. Or maybe they make a mistake during surgery or accidently leave a surgical instrument inside a patient's body. In each case, the consequences can be catastrophic. You can learn more about surgical errors below.
  • Hospital errors - Infections often occur in hospitals when nurses and other medical staff members fail to follow procedures or maintain a hygienic environment or clean equipment fully. And since some hospitals are breeding grounds for super bacteria, the consequences can be very severe, particularly when patients are already in a weakened state of health. Learn more about hospital errors below.
  • Neglect - Ignoring a patient's well-being can have serious consequences. People in hospitals and nursing homes in particular can be especially vulnerable to neglect. Bedsores, dehydration and infections are especially common and potentially very dangerous.
  • Abuse - Among the most upsetting cases we deal with, abuse of patients often results in serious injuries. Staff at hospitals and nursing homes can sometimes cause serious physical or psychological injuries due to physical or emotional abuse.
  • Informed Consent to a Procedure or Drug

We trust doctors and other medical professionals to make things right when we're injured or ill. That's why medical malpractice cases are so frustrating. Instead of making us better, some doctors, nurses or other health care professionals can make the situation worse, which usually leads to catastrophic consequences, including death and permanent life-altering injuries.

And in the case of serious medical conditions or illnesses, worse can mean the difference between a minor injury and permanent impairment or death. Whatever type of medical malpractice case you're dealing with, it's important to take legal action as soon as possible. That's why we're eager to meet with you.

What damages can I recover in a medical malpractice case?

The types of damages and the amount of compensation you are entitled to will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. In general, victims of medical malpractice can pursue the following damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost income or losses for ability to work
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Any permanent disfigurement e.g. scars
  • Any permanent disability or loss of function
  • Loss of benefits or insurance
  • Lifetime care and services

If medical malpractice results in death, the immediately family members of the victim can file a wrongful death case. If you were dependent on the deceased person for medical benefits and financial security, you can recover compensation for these damages, along with loss of companionship, emotional pain and suffering, and more.

How do I prove medical malpractice?

All medical malpractice cases - like all personal injury cases - rely on you proving that the doctor, hospital or other medical provider was negligent in some way, and that their negligence led directly to your injuries. Proving this can be incredibly difficult without the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney and team of experts in the medical field who can examine the events leading to the injury in order to determine whether proper care was given. At the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, we work with a team of investigators and medical experts to gather and interpret the complex medical evidence in your case.

The goal is to prove that your doctor's error was not justifiable in any way. Whether your case involves an error, a negligent treatment decision, or a failure to diagnose your condition, Attorney Plotnick will work tirelessly to show that your healthcare provider's actions are outside of the boundary of acceptable risk.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney Stuart L. Plotnick has a strong history of success helping injured medical malpractice victims and their families recover the compensation they need. Medical malpractice cases by their very nature called for a skilled team as victims usualy do not have the medical training or knowledge to know what or how something went wrong. We will perform a thorough investigation on your behalf, hiring experts in the medical field, evaluating your medical condition and calculating the lifetime cost of your injury.

Our law firm recognizes that no single legal strategy will work for every case. That's why we will develop a unique, targeted approach based on the specific circumstances of your case, fighting to defend your rights every step of the way. We are prepared to take your case as far as it needs to go to help you win.

Your best interests will always be our first priority. And that means fighting to obtain the compensation you deserve for your medical malpractice case. The financial impact of a medical malpractice case can be staggering. You shouldn't have to pay for someone else's mistakes. We take such cases so seriously because we understand what's on the line - your health and financial well-being.

If you have further questions about medical malpractice, please contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Birth Injuries

When a child suffers a birth injury that leads to a lifelong disability, their parents are left with not only the deep emotional trauma of their child's suffering, but also the financial burden of the overwhelming medical and therapy expenses needed to give their child a future and the best life possible. Not all birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice, but in too many cases, a doctor's negligence during the pregnancy and childbirth process leads to a birth injury that could have been prevented.

No child should be denied life resources they may need after a preventable birth injury. If a medical professional's mistake or negligence led to your child's injury, our experienced birth injury lawyer can help you fight for the justice and fair compensation your child deserves.

Causes of Birth Injury

According to available birth injury data, the most common causes of birth injury are:

  • Incorrect use of forceps or vacuum
  • Failure to recognize or act upon fetal or baby in distress during birth
  • Incorrect use of misoprostol or oxytocin
  • Failure to perform a timely C-section
  • Failure to properly resuscitate an oxygen-deprived infant

Failure to perform an emergency C-section (Caesarean section) is one of the most common causes of birth injury. If regular delivery is not possible or safe, doctors must act quickly to prevent fetal distress, uterine rupture, cord prolapse, placenta previa, and other problems that can lead to birth injuries.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it is generally recommended that emergency C-sections be performed within thirty minutes of the time that the decision for surgery is made. However, if serious complications are already occurring, C-sections should be performed much sooner than the 30-minute window.

Types of Birth Injury

There are hundreds of different types of birth injury, but some of the most common injuries are:

  • Cerebral palsy - Caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control muscle coordination and movement. This damage can occur from lack of oxygen, bleeding in the brain, infection, severe jaundice, and other problems during childbirth. Most children with cerebral palsy are diagnosed before they turn 2, but if the symptoms are mild, it can take up to 5 years to make a definitive diagnosis. Beforehand, your child may be diagnosed with motor dysfunction, developmental delay, central nervous system dysfunction, neuromotor dysfunction, or static encephalopathy.
  • Erb's palsy - Caused by injury to the brachial plexus, which is the delicate network of nerves located near your neck. If these nerves are torn or stretched during childbirth, feeling and movement in the hands, arms, fingers, and wrists can be lost.
  • Shoulder dystocia - If your child's shoulders get stuck in the birth canal during a vaginal delivery, the doctor must act quickly to prevent injury. Fractured clavicles, asphyxia, internal lacerations, and damage to the brachial plexus nerves are all potential consequences of shoulder dystocia.
  • Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) - When infants do not receive enough oxygen during the delivery process, it can lead to brain damage and many of the conditions above.

Birth Injuries Demand Strong Legal Action

Rockville, Maryland birth injury lawyer Stuart L. Plotnick understands how overwhelming an unexpected birth injury can be. The joy of childbirth can quickly turn into emotional trauma, worry, and panic over how to provide for your newborn's condition. Our legal team has years of experience helping families like yours fight for justice and fair compensation, so you can give your child the future they deserve.

If your child suffered birth injuries, and you believe it was the result of medical negligence, please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule a free case evaluation with our Bethesda personal injury attorney. We represent birth injury victims throughout Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

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Misdiagnosis or Late Diagnosis

Doctors have a duty to recognize the signs and symptoms of certain medical conditions, and to make a correct diagnosis in a timely manner. Effective treatment often depends on an early and accurate diagnosis. Failing to diagnose a serious medical condition in a timely manner is one of the most frequent types of medical malpractice that occurs nationwide.

The Difference Between Life and Death

Failing to properly diagnose a patient prevents them from obtaining the proper (and in some cases life-saving) treatment. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can occur during a routine visit to your doctor, in the emergency room, during pregnancy, or in any situation where a doctor fails to conduct certain tests or follow-up on specific symptoms.

If you have been misdiagnosed, or if a diagnosis was not made until your condition progressed to an advanced state, you have a right to hold your doctor and anyone else involved accountable for medical malpractice. Contact Rockville malpractice attorney of Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule a free case evaluation. 301-251-1286.

Examples of Misdiagnosis / Late Diagnosis

Some of the most common medical conditions that are misdiagnosed or completely missed include:

  • Cancer - Detecting cancer early is essential in order to maximize a patient's chances of survival. Failure to perform proper testing, or failure to perform testing at an early stage for patients who are at risk of cancer, can all render a doctor liable for medical malpractice.
  • Stroke or heart attack - Hospital emergency rooms can be crowded with patients and pushed for time. As a result, due to haste to move patients along, emergency room negligence can sometimes lead to symptoms of stroke or heart attack being overlooked. Patients are often sent home, only to have a disabling stroke or heart attack soon after.
  • Appendicitis - Failure to diagnose appendicitis is one of the top five causes of emergency room malpractice lawsuits. In fact, compensation paid out to victims of emergency room negligence often involves misdiagnosis of acute appendicitis. Many patients with acute appendicitis have been incorrectly diagnosed by a previous doctor. The initial misdiagnosis rate of appendicitis is especially high among children under 12 years old and infants.
  • Meningitis - Meningitis infections often start in innocuous places like the throat, ears, or sinuses, and spread through the blood stream to the spinal fluid, eventually inflaming the lining of the brain. This deadly condition must be treated immediately in its early stages in order to prevent death. Babies and children up to two years old have the highest incidence rate for meningitis. Doctors should vigilantly test for this condition when they notice early signs and symptoms of the infection.

How to Avoid Misdiagnosis or Late Diagnosis

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms, and your doctor's diagnosis or treatment has not brought any relief, do not be shy about asking tough questions and do whatever you can to ensure you are properly tested.

Some tips for participating in the diagnosis process include:

  • Ask your doctor what else your condition could be. You should know all the possibilities associated with your symptoms so you can perform your own research.
  • Get a second opinion. Even if the diagnosis seems like a sure thing, it's important to get a second opinion if treatment will involve invasive surgery or a long recovery period.
  • Trust your own intuition. If you think your doctor has not correctly diagnosed your condition, research and look for evidence to support your concerns, and discuss them openly with your doctor. Getting a second opinion or getting your tests redone will either confirm your suspicions, or confirm that your doctor's diagnosis was correct.

Experienced Rockville Medical Malpractice Attorney

Cases involving misdiagnosis or late diagnosis can be incredibly complex, since they usually depend on highly technical interpretations of different types of medical data - including MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, lab results, and more. In order to pursue a successful medical malpractice case, you need an attorney who has intimate knowledge of the medicine, which means  access to some of the most knowledgeable experts in the field who can testify in your case.

The Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, has many years of experience handling successful medical malpractice claims for victims of misdiagnosis. You can trust us to thoroughly investigate your case and provide your claim with the strong foundation of evidence it needs to succeed. We know how win the healthcare industry, and we are dedicated to holding negligent doctors accountable for their actions.

If you have been seriously injured, or if your loved one has died because of a missed or wrong diagnosis, please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Rockville medical malpractice attorneys.

We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

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Prescription Errors

Prescription errors, and ultimately ingesting the wrong medications, can result in very serious health and medical issues. These issues, which can include poisoning and other adverse reactions, are one of the most common causes of medical malpractice claims. These claims are typically filed against a doctor or pharmacist who has negligently prescribed or administered medication that results in unnecessary and avoidable harm to a patient.

At the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, we understand the dynamics of medical malpractice claims. Mr. Plotnick has the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you want and the justice you deserve.

Causes of Prescription Errors

The most common causes of prescription errors involve dispensing either the wrong dosage of medication or the wrong medication altogether. Prescription errors are often the result of negligence or incompetence on behalf of the doctor or the pharmacist.

A doctor may be at fault when:

  • The wrong medication is prescribed
  • An incorrect dosage is prescribed
  • The written prescription is illegible and causes incorrect administration

Sometimes even when the doctor's prescription is clear and accurate, the pharmacist may induce personal injuries due to:

  • Mislabeling or inadequate labeling of medications
  • Confusion with similar looking drugs
  • Failing to identify harmful drug interactions
  • Failing to give warning for potential drug allergies

Whether the medication is incorrectly prescribed or erroneously filled, the effects can be devastating. Mr. Plotnick understands the gravity of these cases, and he will make it his priority to answer all of your medical malpractice questions to help you better understand your rights.

If you have suffered personal injuries due to a prescription error, contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC at (301) 251-1286 to schedule your consultation with an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney. We serve the entire Washington D.C. area including Frederick, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, College Park, Landover, Bowie, Upper Marlboro, Alexandria, Arlington, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg, Purcellville and Tysons Corner.

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Surgical Errors and Wrong Site Surgery

All surgeries come with some degree of risk. However, as a patient, you have a right to expect that your surgeon will perform your procedure with all the skill and precision that it demands, and will follow basic safety protocols throughout the process. Your surgeon or physician also has an obligation to inform you of the key potential risks so you can decide whether surgery is the best option for you. If complications do occur, they should be caused by the nature of the surgery itself, not by an error made by your surgeon.

Like other forms of medical malpractice, surgical negligence can cause lifelong or even fatal injuries, leaving patients and their families with even more overwhelming injury or event death.

Wrong-Site Surgical Errors are a "Never Event"

Unfortunately, surgical errors occur more often than people realize. However, wrong-site, wrong-procedure are considered "never events" by the National Quality Forum, meaning they should never occur in medical facilities unless there are exceptional circumstances. Although wrong-site surgery is rare, it is considered one of the most egregious medical errors because it is often irreversible and debilitating, but entirely preventable.

Wrong-site surgery and wrong surgery are most common in eye operations and orthopedic procedures. Orthopedic physicians have a 25% chance of making a wrong site surgical error during their career (according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons). This includes performing surgery on the incorrect side, or on the wrong location on the correct side (e.g.  the wrong finger on the correct hand). Other examples include incorrect operations (e.g. resection of a muscle instead of recession) and even surgeries performed on the wrong patient.

Common Types of Surgical Errors

The National Quality Forum identifies the main types of surgical errors as:

  • Wrong site surgery / wrong organ surgery / wrong side surgery
  • Wrong procedure performed
  • Wrong patient surgery
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Failure to perform proper tests or blood work
  • Failure to consider drug reactions
  • Perforation or laceration of a blood vessel or internal organ during surgery
  • Leaving a foreign object inside a patient, such as a sponge or clamp
  • Anesthesia errors (wrong dosage)
  • Post-surgical infections and/or complications

Your body is incredibly vulnerable during surgery. Any time a surgical error is made, the potential impact can be life-altering or fatal. Complications arising from surgical error include the following:

  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clots)
  • Amputations
  • Excessive scarring
  • Burns
  • Wrongful death

Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Patients who have been injured or killed because of surgical errors deserve justice, and the doctors who made this "never event" error need to be held accountable for their serious negligence. Our experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys can help you obtain the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.

If you have been the victim of a surgical error or a wrong site surgery in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C., please contact the Law Offices of Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys.

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Hospital Errors and Infections Due to Unsanitary Conditions or Instruments

When a patient suffers injury at the hands of a healthcare professional - because of error, negligence, or some other form of medical malpractice - the doctor and the hospital in which the patient received their care can potentially be held responsible for the victim's injuries. Hospitals have a duty to keep patients safe and serve their needs, but too many times, patients become vulnerable to harm such as infection because the hospital fails to adhere to important safety protocols.

If you or one of your loved ones has been injured or had an injury or illness aggravated because of a hospital error, our experienced Rockville medical malpractice lawyer, Stuart L. Plotnick can help you understand your rights and legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Causes of Hospital Errors

When problems occur, hospital employees and executives often use phrases like "unfortunate, but unavoidable" to absolve themselves of liability. However, research shows that the vast majority of hospital errors are indeed avoidable, and - even more frustrating - the same types of mistakes happen over and over again.

Hospital errors are most commonly rooted in:

  • Failure to accurately diagnose patient's condition
  • Failure to take a proper medical history
  • Failure to adhere to safety protocols
  • Failure to wash hands between patients
  • Failure to properly sanitize instruments
  • Failure to report changes in or adequately monitor a patient's condition

In many cases, hospitals do not provide on-staff doctors and nurses with the resources they need to effectively manage and treat their patients. Thanks to insufficient training, resources, and supervision, hospital employees are put in a position to fail when it comes to observing the basic standards of medical care. This unfortunate situation is too often the direct result of hospitals trying to cut corners in order to increase profits for the corporations that own the medical facility.

Consequences of Hospital Errors

Hospital patients already have an injury or illness they are seeking treatment for. When hospital errors cause that condition to worsen - or introduce an entirely new illness or injury on top of it - the consequences can be severe, leading to permanent injury or even wrongful death.

Depending on the circumstances of each case, victims of hospital negligence can pursue compensation for the following losses:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Lost income
  • Loss of ability to work or earn
  • Loss of ability to function
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of support and companionship in the case of a death of loved one

If you have been seriously injured, or if your loved one has died because of a hospital error, please contact experienced Rockville medical malpractice lawyer Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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