Published on:

Continuous Treatment Doctrine Did Not Save Patient’s Medical Negligence Claim Against a New York Hospital

The Legislature of the State of New York has codified the limitations period for a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. This means that, generally speaking, someone who is hurt by the mistake of a doctor or other healthcare professional must file a claim within that time period, or else his or her right to seek money damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the doctor’s mistake is forfeited.

However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to the general limitations period. Some exceptions, such as the continuous treatment doctrine, can potentially extend the period for filing suit. Likewise, there may be certain circumstances that result in a shorter effective limitations period. If you believe that you  have a claim for medical negligence, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible so that appropriate measures can be taken to preserve your claim.

(Notably, the statute of limitations may be different if you were treated in another state. In some states, the period for filing a claim can be substantially shorter (or potentially longer), so it is important to get legal advice that is state-specific.)

Facts of the Case

A recent New York appellate court case involved the issue of the timeliness of a medical malpractice case filed against the defendant hospital. The plaintiff insisted that her case was timely filed under the continuous treatment doctrine, but the trial court disagreed and granted summary judgment to the defendant hospital. The plaintiff appealed, seeking further review of the timeliness of her claim.

Outcome of the Case

The New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the hospital. The plaintiff argued on appeal that the statutory period for serving a notice of claim on the defendant hospital had been tolled under the continuous treatment doctrine and was, thus, timely. The reviewing court disagreed with this proposition and affirmed the lower court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s suit as untimely.

In so holding, the court noted that the plaintiff had been treated by multiple medical providers, not just the defendant hospital, and that many years had passed since the alleged act of negligence for which the plaintiff sought money damages. The negligence claim asserted against the defendant hospital was to the effect that the plaintiff had presented for treatment with a headache in May 2011 and that the defendant hospital had failed to properly diagnose and/or treat her condition. Apparently, the plaintiff suffered a stroke at some point after she was released from the defendant hospital, although the date that this happened was not revealed in the court’s written opinion. Contrary to the plaintiff’s argument, the court found that the plaintiff’s post-stroke rehabilitative care did not constitute a “continuation of treatment” for the condition that gave rise to the alleged act of medical malpractice, at least not under the circumstances presented here. Notably, the plaintiff had also been treated at a separate medical facility, where she received care from a neurologist and a “stroke specialist.”

Call a Medical Negligence Lawyer in Syracuse

Filing a Syracuse medical or hospital malpractice claim is the first step to asserting your legal rights against a medical provider whose negligence injured you or a family member. The attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers regularly handle these types of cases, and we are here to help. Call us at 833-247-8427 to get started on your case today.

Contact Information