Medical malpractice cases, like any civil lawsuit, must be pursued within the time frame established by the statute of limitations. While the courts strictly construe the statute of limitations for pursuing a medical malpractice claim in New York, there are certain circumstances that allow a plaintiff to toll the statutory period, such as the continuous treatment doctrine. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York recently held the continuous treatment doctrine does not toll the statute of limitations for a failure to diagnose, in a case in which the plaintiff who was harmed by his doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat his kidney cancer in a timely manner sought leave to amend his complaint to add additional claims. If you sustained damages due to your physician’s failure to diagnose or treat your illness, it is vital to recovery to meet with a proficient Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case.
The Plaintiff’s Care
It is alleged that the plaintiff treated at the defendant hospital for kidney issues for several years. He began treating in 2006 when a lesion was observed on his kidney on a CT scan. Subsequent scans in 2009, 2010, and 2011, showed the lesion as well, but no diagnosis or treatment was provided for the lesion. In 2011, the plaintiff treated with a urologist who advised him to wait six months and then follow-up, and in 2012 he underwent an ultrasound that indicated the lesion was suspicious for carcinoma. He then underwent surgery to remove the lesion, which was diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma.
It is reported that the plaintiff subsequently filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital due to the delay in diagnosing his cancer. The plaintiff’s complaint only included the defendant’s negligent failure to diagnose his cancer from 2009 onward, as the earlier claims were precluded by the statute of limitations. The defendant then produced an expert report that stated that there was no progression of the cancer from 2009 to 2012. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint, to add additional negligence claims for the failure to properly diagnose his cancer from 2006 to 2009, arguing that the amendment was permitted under the continuous treatment doctrine.