Lane v. Lane
In Lane v. Lane, 295 Ark. 671, 752 S.W.2d 25 (1988), the plaintiff was treated for migraine headaches over the course of eighteen years, and she contended that the treatment caused scarring and drug addition.
The court held that the facts fit squarely within the continuous-treatment doctrine and found her complaint to be timely, since it was filed within two years from the date the treatment ended.
The supreme court adopted the "continuous course of treatment" doctrine as defined in 1 David Louisell and Harold Williams, Medical Malpractice 13.08 (1982):
"If the treatment by the doctor is a continuing course and the patient's illness, injury or condition is of such a nature as to impose on the doctor a duty of continuing treatment and care, the statute does not commence running until treatment by the doctor for the particular disease or condition involved has terminated -- unless during treatment the patient learns or should learn of negligence, in which case the statute runs from the time of discovery, actual or constructive." 295 Ark. at 673-74, 752 S.W.2d at 26-27.
The court stated that this doctrine becomes relevant when the medical negligence consists of a series of negligent acts, or a continuing course of improper treatment.
The court found the basis for the doctrine to be sound in that it promotes fairness to a plaintiff who undergoes a series of treatments and who might be unable to identify the precise treatment that produced the injury and in that it prevents a patient from having to interrupt the physician's treatment to file suit.