Raynor v. Kyser
In Raynor v. Kyser, 338 Ark. 366, 993 S.W.2d 913 (1999), the plaintiff had seen the doctor in January of 1985 for chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps, which the doctor removed. The plaintiff returned to the doctor in August 1988 and July 1990 for removal of polyps and papillomas, and she saw the doctor for a last follow-up visit in March 1991.
The doctor requested that the plaintiff return in six months. However, she failed to return even though she received at least two courtesy letters from the doctor reminding her to do so. She returned on October 18, 1994, and was scheduled for surgery one week later for chronic obstructive rhino sinusitis; during the surgery, several polyps were removed. She returned for a follow-up visit in November 1994. In March 1995, the doctor ordered an MRI for the plaintiff, after her internist sent her back to the doctor because she was complaining of blurred vision. The MRI revealed a large malignant inverted papilloma in the maxillary sinus cavity. The plaintiff filed suit against the doctor on February 27, 1997.
In affirming the grant of summary judgment based on the statute of limitations, the supreme court stated:
"The instant facts are distinguishable from Lane and Taylor. In both cases where we have applied the continuous treatment theory to toll the statute, the patient has received active, ongoing medical care and attention beyond the time of a specific negligent act or series of acts -- that is, something more than the mere continuation of the physician-patient relationship. In the case at bar, active treatment of an existing patient condition ceased following Raynor's postoperative visit in November 1994. Dr. Kyser's act of setting a future office visit six months later did not constitute the requisite continuous treatment needed to toll the statute. We have stated one policy rationale for the continuous treatment doctrine is to prevent the patient from having to interrupt the physician's treatment to bring suit. Tullock v. Eck, 311 Ark. 564, 845 S.W.2d 517 (1993). Where there is no more physician-patient interaction occurring other than the scheduling of future visits, the policy is satisfied as there is no interruption of "treatment for the malady which was the object of the treatment...." Tullock, 311 at 570. Were we to hold otherwise, we would no doubt come perilously close to embracing continuous-tort theory, which we have heretofore consistently rejected." (338 Ark. at 372-373, 993 S.W.2d at 916.)