pile of pills

Appeals Court Holds Indiana Malpractice Lawsuit is Time-Barred

The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a patient’s medical malpractice lawsuit was time-barred. In Anonymous Physician v. Rogers, a man sought treatment from his urologist for blood in his urine. After a renal ultrasound and cystoscopy uncovered a number of lesions on the man’s bladder, the doctor diagnosed the man with bladder cancer. The man began undergoing chemotherapy treatment for the cancer and underwent several additional cystoscopies to monitor his progress over the course of about three years. Prior to performing each procedure, his urologist apparently disinfected the cystoscopy equipment with a product that manufacturer warnings and medical literature stated should not be used on a patient suffering from bladder cancer. The urologist allegedly did not share this product warning with the man.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, the man began to experience minor itching after a cystoscopy procedure was performed on him. Following his next cystoscopy, the man suffered a more serious allergic reaction. In January 2009, the man experienced an allergic reaction that required him to stay overnight in the hospital after his doctor performed another cystoscopy procedure. In response to the hospital visit, the man sought treatment from an allergist who determined the man was allergic to the cleaning agent used on the cystoscopy equipment. The urologist was apparently notified of the man’s allergy in March 2009. At this time, the urologist apparently stopped using the product to disinfect his cystoscopy equipment.

In March 2011, the man attempted to hold his urologist accountable for the doctor’s purported negligence and failure to meet the prevailing standard of care by filing a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. In response, his urologist claimed the two-year statute of limitations included in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act had lapsed before the man filed his complaint and asked a trial court to grant summary judgment in his favor. In a motion for summary judgment, a party to a lawsuit asks a court to hold there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

The trial court granted the doctor’s motion for summary judgment, and the man filed a motion to correct the alleged error. According to the man, an issue of fact existed regarding how to appropriately apply the statute of limitations included in the Act. The court ordered a hearing on the matter and eventually granted the man’s motion and denied summary judgment. His urologist then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Indiana.

On appeal, the urologist argued that the man’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations included in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act because the man’s last allergic reaction occurred more than two years before he filed his complaint. The man countered that the “doctrine of continuing wrong” applied to the case, since the physician used the product the man was allergic to until he was notified about the allergy. After examining each of the parties’ claims, the Court of Appeals stated the doctor effectively established that the case was filed outside the statute of limitations for negligence.

Next, the court examined the man’s claim that the “doctrine of continuing wrong” tolled the statute of limitations. According to the court, the man failed to offer evidence that the injury-producing behavior was ongoing. Additionally, the man offered no evidence indicating it was not reasonable for him to file his claim within the applicable two-year statute of limitations. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals of Indiana held that the statute of limitations began to run on the date of the last occurrence of the alleged malpractice and the man’s case was time-barred. Because of this, the court reversed the holding of the trial court and granted summary judgment in favor of the urologist.

If you were injured or someone you love died as a result of a medical provider’s negligent act, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side. To discuss your case with a knowledgeable and hardworking Merrillville personal injury attorney, call Theodoros & Rooth, P.C. at (219) 212-2462 or contact us through our website.

Additional Resources:

Anonymous Physician v. Rogers, Ind: Court of Appeals 2014

More Blog Posts:

Healthcare Mistakes Still Causing Infections, October 7, 2014, Indiana Injury Law Blog

New Database: Your FDA, September 30, 2014, Indiana Injury Law Blog

Photo Credit: mensatic, MorgueFile