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New York Court Examines the Continuing Treatment Doctrine

New York imposes strict time limitations as to when a person can pursue medical malpractice claims. Thus, if a person injured by a negligent doctor fails to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within the statute of limitations, their claim will most likely be dismissed. As explained in a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice case, though, there are certain situations when delays are acceptable, such as when the continuing treatment doctrine applies. If you sustained losses because of inadequate medical care, you should talk to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your possible claims.

History of the Case

It is alleged that from January through April 2017, the plaintiff was hospitalized at the defendant medical center. During his stay, he developed severe pressure sores. He treated his sores with other providers following his discharge. In September 2018, he returned to the defendant medical center for an unrelated procedure. He continued to treat his sores in 2019 and, in July 2019, was evaluated at the defendant medical center for a worsening sore on his left hip joint that required surgery.

Reportedly, in September 2019, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as time-barred. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and it appealed.

The Continuing Treatment Doctrine

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. Under New York law, a medical malpractice action accrues on the date when the allegedly negligent omission or act happened. Under the continuous treatment doctrine, however, the limitations period does not begin to run until the end of the plaintiff’s treatment; if the plaintiff continued to seek a course of care from the defendant during the relevant time period and actually obtained such care, the care was for the same complaints or conditions underlying the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, and the treatment was continuous.

If a plaintiff makes a timely visit to the defendant to complain about and seek care for a matter related to the initial treatment offered by the defendant, such a visit falls within the scope of continuous treatment. Treatment for matters unrelated to the issue that gave rise to the claim is insufficient to invoke the doctrine’s protection. In the subject case, the court found that the defendant met its burden of establishing that the plaintiff’s claims were filed outside of the statute of limitations. In response, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a triable issue of fact as to whether the continuous treatment doctrine applied. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Trusted Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation, but they must do so promptly; otherwise, they may waive their right to recover damages. If you suffered harm because of a careless physician, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to determine what damages you may be able to recover. The trusted Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and develop a strategy designed to help you seek the maximum compensation recoverable. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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