Schlachman, Belsky & Weiner, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

When Maryland residents go to the hospital, they expect to have competent, qualified care. Yet, it may surprise some that even the most well-trained doctors can be the source of doctor negligence leading to a patient's injuries.

For example, a highly-qualified physician is facing criticism after some recent incidents have cast his care into doubt. The doctor is an orthopedic surgeon who serves as the medical director for ESPN's X Games, as well as the head physician for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. The doctor is currently being investigated for gross negligence and medical malpractice.

The allegations of doctor error relate to surgeries the doctor has performed over the past few years, as well as his failure to maintain sufficient medical records. The doctor potentially could have his medical license revoked, which is unique in that it is a significant step above a medical malpractice case filed by a person. Officials cited the pattern of negligence committed by the doctor, with at least 23 medical malpractice cases filed against him since 1998.

Even if a physician has a pattern of negligence like the doctor above, an individual patient must still prove his or her case of medical negligence against the doctor in a personal injury suit, likely without reference to the past cases involving other patients. Accordingly, to succeed, the person must establish the doctor had a duty of care to the patient through a doctor-patient relationship.

The individual must then show the doctor breached that duty, meaning the doctor failed to provide care with the skill, care and diligence possessed by other physicians. For instance, for a case against the surgeon above, the plaintiff must show the doctor did not provide care in the manner that a reasonably competent surgeon would have under the circumstances. If the individual can meet this showing, the medical malpractice suit may be successful, and the person may recover damages to compensate him or her for the sustained injuries.

Source: Aspen Daily News, "X Games doc faces negligence charges, license revocation in Calif.," Dorothy Atkins, Feb. 14, 2013

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