Top Court DecidesAuthor: Portner & Shure
Earlier this month, the Maryland Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the Wicomico County case of Ginneene Williams v. Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Maryland's highest court is "tasked with determining whether medical professionals are immune from liability if they decide not to admit a patient after an evaluation."
The basic facts of this case involve Ms. Williams taking her son to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in 2009 because of strange behavior. The hospital released him, and he subsequently went to a restaurant where he continued to act strangely. Later, he broke into a home and Salisbury police shot Mr. Williams fifteen times after he charged at the officers with a knife and told them to shoot him. The Wicomico County Circuit Court held that the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family be dismissed. The Court of Special Appeals upheld the Circuit Court's ruling. This will be the first time the Court of Appeals interprets the statute in question.
During oral arguments, the Court of Appeals Judge Sally D. Adkins posed the following question: "why legislation would provide doctors with immunity to admit patients but not for determining not to admit them?" Judge Adkins followed that up by commenting, "[i]n that case...if doctors were to have any doubt, they would admit the patient." It will certainly be interesting to see how the Court rules in this matter, and depending on how they rule, our future medical malpractice clients could be affected.
If you or a family member is the victim of an injury caused by medical malpractice in Maryland, an experienced attorney from Portner & Shure can help you get the compensation you are entitled. If you would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on medical malpractice in Maryland, please feel free to contact our office at (855) 954-4141.