State Supreme Court Affirms Verdict for Defendant in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit, While Possibly Expanding the Statute of Limitations for Future Plaintiffs

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently released an opinion affirming a jury’s decision that a plaintiff’s claim was time-barred because she should have known malpractice was being committed and filed the lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations. Although the high court ruling affirmed a final judgment in favor of the defendants, the court’s analysis and application of what is known as the “continuing treatment doctrine” left the door open for future medical malpractice plaintiffs to legally pursue claims over three years after the date of the alleged act of medical malpractice if the requirements for the doctrine are met. The Massachusetts Supreme Court found that the plaintiff’s claim in the case of Parr v. Rosenthal did not meet the requirements to extend the statute of limitations, and therefore it affirmed the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant.

Complications Treating a Tumor on the Plaintiff’s Son’s Leg Results in Amputation

The plaintiff in the case of Parr v. Rosenthal is the mother of a child who lost his leg after receiving treatment from the defendant for a benign tumor on his leg. After the plaintiff’s son was diagnosed with the rare and quickly growing tumor, she sought out the defendant, who specialized in a treatment known as radio frequency ablation, or RFA, to have the tumor removed.

The plaintiff’s son was seriously burned during the procedure and eventually required two amputation surgeries on his leg because of the damage allegedly caused by the defendant. On March 9, 2009, over three years after the RFA procedure was performed, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit against the defendant. After a trial, the jury found that the plaintiff’s claim should have been filed within the three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, and the plaintiff should have discovered the doctor’s negligence within the limitations period.

The Court Accepts the Continuing Treatment Doctrine But Doesn’t Apply it to the Plaintiff’s Claim

The plaintiff appealed the verdict to the state supreme court, urging the high court to adopt a legal theory known as the continuing treatment doctrine, which would extend the statute of limitations for as long as the patient is being treated by the same physician for the same issue that gave rise to the alleged malpractice. The court was sympathetic to the plaintiff’s reasoning and decided to incorporate the continuing treatment doctrine into Massachusetts law. The plaintiff’s case did not meet the court’s requirements to apply the doctrine, however, since the child was not being treated by him specifically within three years of filing the claim. The court rejected the plaintiff’s request to apply the doctrine because her son was being treated by the defendant’s “medical team” within three years of her filing the claim.

The Use of the Continuing Treatment Doctrine in Florida

The continuing treatment doctrine applies in South Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, and it may be used by Miami medical malpractice victims to toll the statute of limitations and validly file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired if the required factors are met. For the continuing treatment doctrine to toll the statute of limitations in a Florida medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must be receiving treatment from the same doctor for the same condition that resulted in the alleged act of malpractice. A skilled South Florida medical malpractice attorney may be able to collect damages for a plaintiff after the statute of limitations appears to have expired.

Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a family member has been injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, the Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank can help you pursue damages. Our experienced and professional South Florida negligence lawyers know how to fight doctors and their insurance companies. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we represent clients in medical malpractice and other negligence cases throughout South Florida. Contact us and set up a no-obligation consultation at no cost to you. Call us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or use our web-based form to be put in touch with a skilled attorney and discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Court Awards Additional Damages to Plaintiff Based On Insurance Company’s Bad Faith, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 9, 2016.

Court Upholds Verdict in Icy Road Car Accident Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 23, 2016.

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