How Does Late Discovery of Arm Injury Affect Statute of Limitation In Medical Malpractice Cases ?

Was the Medical Malpractice Complaint Time-Barred When the Plaintiff Claimed That She Discovered That Her Arm Injury Was Wrongfully Caused Almost a Year After Her Hysterectomy In Allen v. Thorek Hospital, 275 Ill. App. 3d 695, 656 N.E.2d 227, 212 Ill. Dec. 74 (1995), the plaintiff underwent a hysterectomy on April 10, 1991. Immediately after surgery, she felt numbness in her arm and noticed her fingers were awkwardly curled. Her condition worsened after she left the hospital, and she visited her surgeon six weeks later. Her surgeon could not examine her, but his colleague recommended physical therapy. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice complaint on April 8, 1993, naming the hospital as a defendant and her surgeon as a respondent in discovery. In a proposed amended complaint attached to her motion to convert her surgeon to a party-defendant, she claimed she did not discover her arm injury was wrongfully caused until February or March 1992. The court briefly discussed the discovery rule in the context of its discussion on respondents in discovery. the court noted the plaintiff knew of her arm injury before she left the hospital following her hysterectomy. Allen, 275 Ill. App. 3d at 702. And she knew her arm injury was wrongfully caused six weeks later when she visited her surgeon and his colleague recommended physical therapy. Allen, 275 Ill. App. 3d at 702. At this time, said the court, "the plaintiff knew, or reasonably should have known, that physical therapy for an arm injury was not a normal or expected consequence of a hysterectomy." Allen, 275 Ill. App. 3d at 702. The court concluded the latest time at which the limitations period began to run was the summer of 1991: "The undisputed facts show that plaintiff's assertion that she did not suspect wrongful conduct until almost a year later in March of 1992 is unreasonable." Allen, 275 Ill. App. 3d at 702.