McKeen & Associates recently won a significant decision in the Michigan Supreme Court that has important implications for medical malpractice claims regarding statute of limitations.
The case involved a Macomb county woman, Kelly Bowman, now deceased, who discovered a lump in her breast. Her physician, Dr. Tushar Parikh, of St. John Hospital, Ascension Medical Center, advised her the lump was benign. Over the next two years the lump grew and eventually it was discovered that the patient did indeed have breast cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy and the cancer metastasized into her bone marrow.
Bowman was not informed that the initial mammogram was likely misread until two years after the fact. The defendants in this case argued that she should have been aware of her cancer and so the case was beyond the two-year statute of limitations. The court disagreed and the case will go forward to trial. It is ridiculous for the defendants to argue that a patient should have more medical acumen and knowledge than the doctor who advised her! The court agreed and noted that not all lumps are cancerous and the patient trusted her physician’s expertise in this matter. Patients do not have to be doctors to protect their rights to access the court system for justice.
This is a significant victory for patients seeking justice, who do not know that a doctor was negligent until after the two-year statute of limitations. Unfortunately, for many with cancer and other dangerous diseases, that discovery may come too late for a cure, as was the case with Bowman. This opinion will also prevent medical providers from failing to disclose an errant diagnosis until after the statue of limitations has run out.
It should be noted, that this opinion does not “extend” the two-year statue of limitations. Once negligence of a medical provided is discovered, a patient has six months to file a case. We urge those who have been harmed through medical malpractice to contact their attorneys as soon as possible.