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Court Adopts Continuing Course of Treatment Doctrine in Medical Malpractice Case

Earlier this year, one state’s supreme court had the occasion to discuss and adopt the continuing course of treatment doctrine in a medical malpractice case. In the case Parr v. Rosenthal, the court adopted the doctrine, which holds that a medical malpractice claim does not accrue for the purposes of the statute of limitations until the defendant doctor stops treating the plaintiff for the condition giving rise to the lawsuit. However, the plaintiffs were ultimately unsuccessful in their case because, although the court adopted the doctrine, the court also determined that the plaintiffs’ case was not a proper application of the doctrine.

The Facts

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who was born with a large bump on the back of his leg. After several years of trying to figure out what the bump was and whether it was potentially harmful to their son, it was diagnosed as a desmoid tumor. The plaintiffs were referred to the defendant doctor who was experienced using a novel technique called radio frequency ablation to treat tumors, however, he had never used the technique on a desmoid tumor.

The plaintiffs agreed to have the defendant operate on their son. However, during the operation the boy was badly burned and the procedure could not be completed. The boy was treated by other doctors within the defendant doctor’s practice group, but the defendant was not involved in any of the boy’s follow-up care. Ultimately, the boy’s leg became infected and he needed to have his leg amputated above the knee.

Several years later, his parents filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant. Notably, the other doctors in the practice group were not named in the lawsuit. At trial, the defendant argued that the case was filed past the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiffs urged the court to adopt the continuing course of treatment doctrine, because the boy had been subsequently treated by doctors in the defendant’s practice group, making the filing of the case within the adjusted statute of limitations.

The court ended up agreeing that the continuing course of conduct doctrine should be adopted by the state, but disagreed that it should be applied in the plaintiffs’ case. The court explained that the doctrine is to be applied when the defendant is providing treatment after an alleged act of malpractice, not when other doctors in the defendant’s practice group are providing the treatment. Thus, the plaintiffs’ case had legally accrued when the defendant stopped being involved in their son’s treatment. Because the amount of time that had elapsed was greater the allowable amount of time under the state’s statute of limitations, that case was procedurally barred. As a result, the plaintiffs will not be permitted to recover for their son’s injuries.

Have You Been Injured by a Doctor’s Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of what you believe to be medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, the timeframe to file a case in Florida is just two years. Exceptions to that general rule may apply, and it is important to discuss your case with a dedicated attorney prior to taking any action. To learn more about medical malpractice cases in Florida, and to discuss your case with an experienced attorney call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we can help you seek the recovery you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff Loses Argument Regarding Whether Insurance Coverage Was “Per Vehicle” or “Per Accident”, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 13, 2016.

Determining Which Statute of Limitations Applies in Personal Injury Cases, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 16, 2016.

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