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How the “Continuing Course of Treatment” Doctrine May Help Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs

Medical malpractice cases are subject to very strict rules, including statutes of limitations, which require that the plaintiff file the case within a certain amount of time. If a plaintiff fails to file the case before a statute of limitations runs, the court loses jurisdiction to hear the case, and the plaintiff will not be permitted to put on their case.

SurgeryThere are, however, certain exceptions to statutes of limitations that can prevent the time from accruing. One of these is the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine, which tolls the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case while the allegedly negligent medical provider is still providing medical care to the plaintiff after the alleged act of negligence. A recent case illustrates this concept.

Cefaratti v. Aranow

Cefaratti was being treated by the defendant doctors for her morbid obesity. During the course of treatment, the defendants suggested that Cefaratti undergo gastric bypass surgery, and Cefaratti agreed. The surgery was performed in 2003.

After the surgery, Cefaratti noticed a sharp and lingering pain in her midsection. She discussed this with her doctor and surgeon, but he was unable to figure out what was causing the pain. She continued to be treated for her morbid obesity for the next several years until she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

While Cefaratti was being treated for breast cancer, it was discovered during a CT scan procedure that she had a foreign mass in her body. She went back to the surgeon who performed the gastric bypass surgery, and he looked into the issue and discovered that he had left a surgical sponge in Cefaratti’s body cavity. Cefaratti filed a lawsuit against the doctors who treated her morbid obesity and performed the gastric bypass surgery. The lawsuit was filed in 2010, seven years after the surgery.

The defendants asked the court to dismiss the case because it was filed well after the three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. However, the plaintiff responded that under the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine, the statute of limitations did not begin to run until the defendant doctors stopped their treatment of her. Since that was less than three years ago, she claimed that her suit was within the tolled statute of limitations. The court agreed, allowing her to continue forward with her medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctors.

Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while undergoing any type of medical procedure, and you believe that a medical professional’s negligence was the cause of your injury, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. The skilled attorneys at the South Florida personal injury law firm of Cohn & Smith have decades of experience helping their clients navigate the complex legal system in pursuit of fair compensation. With a successful track record behind them, the attorneys at Cohn & Smith are more than qualified to represent you in your case. Call 954-431-8100 today to set up a free consultation.

Related Blog Posts:

What May Constitute a Florida “Medical Malpractice” Case Can Be Surprising, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, June 3, 2016.

Jury Verdict in Premises Liability Lawsuit Reversed by Appellate Court, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, June 27, 2016.

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