A: In Pennsylvania medical malpractice cases involving surgical or medical devices, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the negligent act. However, a special exception to the rule often applies in these kinds of cases. Under the discovery rule, a patient who has suffered medical negligence relating to a medical device has two years from the date they discover the negligence to file suit.
In cases where a medical device was implanted or removed negligently, the patient often does not discover the cause of the negligence until months, if not years later. Many people who need medical devices often have medical conditions which may mask the symptoms caused by the negligent implantation or removal.
For example, in a case where a stent is implanted improperly in 2007, the patient might not discover that the cause of their symptoms/pain is the negligently implanted stent until 2010, well after the 2 year statute of limitations has expired. So long as the patient shows due diligence in trying to uncover the cause of the symptoms/pain, the discovery rule will toll the statute of limitations to allow the patient to file suit within 2 years after the discovery was made. Therefore in this example, the discovery rule would toll the statute of limitations until 2012.
Related Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Legal Articles:
- Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law – The Discovery Rule & The Statute of Limitations
- Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases – Filing a Certificate of Merit
- Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law – The Statute of Limitations in Surgical Error Cases
- Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations in Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose Cases
For more information, contact a Pennsylvania medical malpractice and surgical error lawyer.
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Published: August 13, 2012