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New York Court Rules the Continuous Treatment Doctrine Does Not Apply When Care is Unrelated to the Harm Alleged

If a cardiologist provides negligent care that causes a person harm, the person can pursue a claim against the cardiologist for damages. As with any civil claim, there are deadlines that apply to a person pursuing a cardiology malpractice claim, and the failure to abide by the deadlines can result in a waiver of the right to recover damages, regardless of the severity of the harm sustained. In some cases, however, the statute of limitations can be tolled if the injured patient continues to treat with the cardiologist after the date of the alleged harm.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed the tolling of the statute of limitations under the continuous treatment doctrine in a case in which it affirmed the dismissal of a cardiology malpractice claim as time barred. If you suffered harm because of negligent cardiac care, it is imperative to consult a skillful Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff was suffering from end stage kidney disease and kidney failure and was on the list for a kidney transplant. In October 2015, he presented to the defendant medical center for a pre-transplant examination. During the examination he underwent a chest x-ray that revealed pericardial effusion. The plaintiff subsequently underwent a pericardiocentesis to drain the fluid around his heart. During the procedure, the plaintiff’s heart was punctured, and he was required to undergo an emergency sternotomy to repair his left ventricle.

Allegedly, the plaintiff was discharged from the medical center a week later and received follow-up care at the medical center to treat his pericardial effusion for the next four and a half months. He also continued to treat at the medical center for his kidney conditions and underwent pre-transplant examinations which included cardiovascular evaluations over the next year. He ultimately underwent a kidney transplant in the fall of 2017. He then filed a notice of a cardiology malpractice claim against the defendant medical center and defendant cardiologist and filed a complaint instituting the lawsuit. The defendant medical center, which was a municipal entity, moved to have the case dismissed as untimely. The trial court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

Tolling of the Statute Under the Continuous Treatment Doctrine

Under New York law, a medical malpractice claim accrues on the date of the alleged harmful act. If the defendant care provider is a municipal corporation, notice of the claim must be served within 90 days of the date of the alleged harm. The 90-day period may be tolled under the continuous treatment doctrine, however. To prove the continuous treatment doctrine applies a plaintiff must show that his or her treatment for the same condition, illness, or injury out of which the lawsuit arises ran continuously from the date of the alleged harm.

The court noted that the continuous treatment doctrine did not apply where the plaintiff was treating for conditions unrelated to the harm alleged. Here, the court found that the treatment the plaintiff received at the defendant medical center after the date of the alleged harm was not related to his harm, and therefore the continuous treatment doctrine did not apply. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Trusted Rochester Cardiology Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one were injured due to negligent care provided by a cardiologist it is vital to meet with a trusted Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney regarding whether you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. The capable cardiology malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will assertively pursue any damages you may be able to recover from the cardiologist that caused your harm. You can contact us through our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting to discuss your case.


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