Typically, in New York, an injured person has 2.5 years, or 30 months, from the time of the injury to file a medical malpractice claim. However, there are numerous exceptions to this timeframe, such as the Continuous Treatment Doctrine. Under the Continuous Treatment Doctrine, the 2.5-year period to file a medical malpractice claim does not begin to run until the injured person has finished treatment.
On February 4, 2021, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed a trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the Defendant hospital. Plaintiff appealed this medical malpractice decision on the issue of timeliness. Plaintiff argued on appeal that the 2.5 year statutory period for serving a notice of medical malpractice claim on the Defendant hospital was timely, as the Continuous Treatment Doctrine applied.
In its decision, the First Department highlighted that the Plaintiff was treating with multiple physicians, including the Defendant hospital, and that many years had passed since the alleged medical malpractice claim. Plaintiff sought damages for alleged medical malpractice that occurred on May 10, 2011 when she presented to the Defendant hospital’s emergency department for treatment of a headache. Plaintiff suffered a stroke at some point after she was discharged from the Defendant hospital. The First Department held that the post-stroke rehabilitative care that Plaintiff received at Defendant hospital after May 10, 2011 did not constitute a continuation of treatment for the condition that gave rise to the alleged medical malpractice, which according to Plaintiff’s Bill of Particulars, was limited to the Defendant hospital’s failure to diagnose and treat her headache on May 10th. Additionally, in it’s decision, the First Department noted that prior to Plaintiff returning to Defendant hospital for post-stroke care, Plaintiff’s stroke had already been diagnosed and treated at a separate medical facility where Plaintiff continued to receive follow up care from both neurologists and stroke specialists.