I don't usually cover medical malpractice decisions, but this one deals with an important issue that may be of general interest: the continuous treatment doctrine.
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two and a half years after the treatment ends. What is often a vexing question is: when did the treatment begin? Because all negligent acts and omissions of the treating doctor during the course of that continuous treatment will come within the statute, while earlier acts and omissions, which are not part of that continuous course of treatment, will be time barred.
But what about a situation where a patient is being treated for conditions unrelated to the condition which gave rise to the malpractice? For example, where plaintiff sees her doctor for all her general complaints, and at some point presents with symptoms of a sinus infection which turns out, later, to be lung cancer, and the alleged malpractice is the failure to follow up on a suspicious chest x-ray?
Here, in Wilson v. Southampton Urgent Medical Care,
the Supreme Court, New York County, holds that the "continuous treatment" doctrine, for purposes of the statute of limitations, begins when the patient first presents with the symptoms of what ultimately proves to be the condition for which the doctor commits malpractice.