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without prejudice, if the claimant or plaintiff fails to file a certificate of a qualified expert . . . attesting to depar- ture from standards of care, and that the departure from standards of care is the proximate cause of the alleged in- jury. Md. Cts. & Jud. Procs. Code Ann. § 3-2A-04(b). Although the statute does not explicitly require it, courts interpreting this language have held that a plaintiff’s CQE must identify the individual health care providers who have departed from standards of care. D’Angelo v. St. Agnes Healthcare, Inc., 157 Md. App. 631, 645, 853 A.2d 813, 822, cert. denied, 384 Md. 158, 862 A.2d 993 (2004) (citing Watts v. King, 143 Md. App. 293, 307-10, 794 A.2d 723, 731-33 (2002) (dicta)). However, neither the statute nor the case law require anything more specific in the plaintiff’s CQE. Thus, the follow- ing language fully satisfies § 3-2A-04(b): I, [qualified expert], hereby certify as


I am a practicing physician, board cer- tified in Internal Medicine. I have reviewed the medical records of [plaintiffs’

decedent]. From my review of the records it is my opinion that [defendant physi- cians], and the staff at [defendant hospital] deviated from applicable standards of medical care in connection with their care and treatment of [decedent]. It is my fur- ther opinion that the deviations from the standard of care were the proximate cause of the death of [decedent]. I do not annually devote more than 20% of my professional work to activi- ties that involve testimony in personal injury claims. I have read the above and certify that it

is true and correct to the best of my knowl- edge, information and belief. Debbas v. Nelson, 389 Md. 364, 381- 82, 885 A.2d 802, 813 (2006). In particular, the Court of Appeals held: [I]n the Certificate, [the expert] attested specifically to the named defendants’ de- viations from the applicable standard of medical care and opined that such devia- tions were the proximate cause for [decedent’s] demise. No one suggests that [the plaintiffs] did not file a valid Certifi- cate of Qualified Expert based upon the above.

Id. (emphasis added). Although not explicitly required by the statute, CQE’s typically are signed by the certifying expert. Pursuant to § 3-2A- 04(b)(3)(i), a report of some kind also must be filed. But see Osborne v. Walzer, 167 Md. App. 460 (2006) (holding that it was error for trial court to dismiss claim for failure to file report with CQE). The necessary qualifications of the ex-

pert who signs the CQE depend upon the subject matter of the particular claim and certain characteristics of the individual health care provider defendants. These qualifications are set forth in the statute as follows: In addition to any other qualifications, a health care provider who attests in a cer- tificate of a qualified expert . . .

A. Shall have had clinical experience, pro- vided consultation relating to clinical practice, or taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty or a related field of health care, or in the field of health care in which the defendant provided care or treatment to the plaintiff, within 5 years of the date of the alleged



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8 8 8 - 3 2 1 - 7 9 4 5 www .IWPharmacy .com Spring 2006 Trial Reporter 13

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