State Supreme Court Expands Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Case

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently released a decision affirming a lower appellate court’s ruling that allowed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice case to proceed despite the fact that the plaintiff’s claim was not filed within the three-year statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in the state. The appellate rulings applied the “continuing course of treatment doctrine” to expand the statute of limitations and allow the plaintiff to pursue her claim.

As a result of the most recent appellate ruling from the highest state court in Connecticut, the plaintiff’s claim will return to the trial court and proceed toward a settlement or trial regarding her claim for damages.

SurgeonThe Defendant Left a Sponge Inside the Plaintiff’s Body During A Surgery, Causing Serious Pain and Discomfort

The plaintiff in the case of Ceferatti v. Aranow is a woman who had been receiving treatment by the defendants for her morbid obesity, which included a gastric bypass surgery that was performed in December 2003. According to the facts explained in the most recent appellate ruling, the defendant doctor inadvertently left a synthetic sponge inside the plaintiff’s abdominal cavity during the surgery. Although the plaintiff testified that she felt pain from the sponge about one year after the surgery, she did not discover the sponge until undergoing an unrelated CT imaging procedure over five years after the gastric bypass surgery. Approximately one year after discovering that the sponge had been left inside her, she filed a medical malpractice action against the defendants.

Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Action Is Initially Dismissed as Time Barred

After the plaintiff filed her medical malpractice lawsuit, the defendants successfully had the claim dismissed, obtaining a trial court ruling that the claim was not filed within the three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. The plaintiff appealed the ruling to the state appellate court, arguing that the continuing course of treatment doctrine applied to her claim because the defendant was treating her for her morbid obesity, and she continued to receive treatment by him for that condition between the time of her gastric bypass surgery and when she discovered the sponge had been left inside her.

The appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of her case, and the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed. The state’s high court held that the plaintiff’s condition was an identified condition for which she sought ongoing treatment from the defendant, and the statute of limitations would start running only after such continued treatment was terminated. Since the plaintiff’s claim was filed within three years of the date she stopped seeing the defendant for her morbid obesity, her claim should be allowed under the relevant statutes.

Maryland’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Like Connecticut, Maryland has a statute of limitations that requires a claim to be filed within a certain amount of time from a defendant’s alleged act of malpractice. According to Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-109, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within five years of the date that an injury occurred, or within three years of the date the injury was or should have been discovered by the plaintiff. As in Connecticut, there are various legal doctrines that may be used to toll or extend the statute of limitations in Maryland malpractice cases. Maryland malpractice victims should consult a qualified Maryland medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible after noticing a potential injury in order to preserve their claim for relief.

Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a family member may have been a victim of medical malpractice, it may be possible for the statute of limitations to be extended to allow you to make a successful claim for damages. The qualified Maryland medical malpractice and accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC know the relevant legal statutes and doctrines in these claims. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire D.C. area. Call us toll-free at 800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Post-Mortem Misconduct Falls under Medical Malpractice Umbrella and Must Comply with Applicable Procedural Requirements, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 1, 2016.

Court Finds Deceased Skateboarder Assumed the Risk of Injury, Preventing Family from Seeking Compensation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 15, 2016.

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