Medical Malpractice and Healthcare Defense
Eccleston and Wolf is experienced in Medical Malpractice and Healthcare Defense, representing various health care practitioners, including physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other occupations. In recent years there has been a particular increase in claims against these health care professionals in the nursing home arena. Those claims have been coupled with claims filed directly against the extended care facilities.
With the ever-increasing population of elderly individuals requiring rehabilitative and/or long-term nursing care, negligence claims against nursing facilities have become an emergent and growing area of claims. In fact, the alarming rise in the number of malpractice cases involving nursing homes has seemingly spurred the creation of a new frontier for the plaintiff’s bar, with many plaintiff’s lawyers focusing their practices solely on claims of neglect and abuse against individuals in nursing homes, and advertising heavily to solicit such claims. Recognizing this current climate, and the likelihood of increasing numbers of claims against nursing facilities as this vulnerable population steadily increases with the aging of the “baby boomers”, the need for experienced and knowledgeable defense counsel, who are well versed in the area of rehabilitative and long-term nursing care, and the defense of such claims, is critical.
Through many years of defending medical negligence claims, Eccleston and Wolf has developed particularized knowledge and familiarity with the defense of such claims, including the ability to distinguish between meritorious cases where early settlement should perhaps be explored to avoid unnecessary defense costs to clients and insurers, and non-meritorious, or questionable, claims that warrant a vigorous defense through trial. Eccleston and Wolf has developed the skills to effectively defend complex medical malpractice claims including an understanding of common medical issues involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Through its relationship with its many insurance clients, Eccleston and Wolf has capably represented numerous nursing home defendants in connection with claims made in the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia area, including claims relating to long-term, rehabilitative and pharmaceutical care asserted against one of the nation’s largest long term care and rehabilitation therapy providers. Through its defense of nursing home claims, Eccleston and Wolf has developed contacts with a vast array of highly qualified medical professionals, including registered nurses, internists, and a variety of medical specialists to serve as consulting and trial experts to defend allegations of breaches of the standard of care and to defend cases involving disputed medical causation of plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
By way of example, as the number of nursing home malpractice cases has rapidly risen, a predominant area of alleged medical negligence involves the occurrence of skin breakdown, (also referred to as decubitis or pressure ulcers), in an elderly population with decreasing mobility. Decubitis ulcers typically arise from pressure, and any area of tissue that lies just over a bone (such as the tailbone, hips, heels, and elbows) is more likely to break down. While claimants ague that decubitis ulcers occur only as a result of substandard care, in defense of such claims Eccleston and Wolf, through the assistance of qualified experts, demonstrates to the contrary that several independent factors, including poor nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, dehydration and immobility, lead to skin breakdown, despite high quality care. Accordingly, Eccleston and Wolf recognizes that not every action involving the development of decubitis ulcers involves substandard medical or nursing care.
Though many years ago Maryland passed legislation capping non-economic damages claims in personal injury cases, including medical negligence actions, the damages at issue in nursing home claims, nonetheless, often involve potential seven-figure jury verdicts, and claims often originate, or are filed, in venues that are considered plaintiff-oriented. Eccleston and Wolf recognizes that the damages claims, coupled with the inescapable emotional impact of any claim involving an alleged injury or the death of a family member, increases the risks faced by defendants in medical negligence litigation.