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Foreign Object Revives Medical Malpractice Case

CPLR § 214-a. provides that an action for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice must be commenced within two years and six months, except under certain circumstances.  In particular, where the action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the body of the patient, in which case, the action may be commenced within one year of the date of such discovery or of the
date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier.

On June 10, 2015, the New York Court of Appeals, in Walton v. Strong Memorial Hospital, unanimously reversed the Appellate Division and revived a medical malpractice case that had been dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. The Court of Appeals held that a four inch long piece of catheter left inside the heart of a surgical patient – in 1986 – and not discovered for more than 20 years – qualifies as a foreign object and not merely a fixative device, and that CPLR 214-a applies to the case.

Jason T. Katz

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