Statute of Limitation In Continuing Medical Treatment Malpractice Cases

In Earle v. Ratliff, 998 S.W.2d 882 (Tex. 1999), the plaintiff's doctors had implanted AcroMed screws and plates in his spine. The plaintiff worsened after the initial surgery, and the implants ultimately had to be removed. He argued that his injuries resulted from a continuing course of treatment and that his limitations period thus did not start until the last day of treatment. The supreme court disagreed, holding that his limitations began to run on the date of the initial surgery. Id. at 886. In cases of misdiagnosis or failure to test, courts can often trace the claim to dates that the plaintiff visited the healthcare provider being sued. See: Husain v. Khatib, 964 S.W.2d 918, 920 (Tex. 1998)(failure to take mammogram, examine patient, and refer her to a specialist occurred on specific office visits); Bala, 909 S.W.2d at 891-92 (failure to test for and diagnose cancer arose in 1987 office visit); Rowntree v. Hunsucker, 833 S.W.2d 103, 108 (Tex. 1992)(doctor's failure to perform tests could have occurred "only on those occasions when he had opportunity to perform examinations"); Marchal v. Webb, 859 S.W.2d 408, 417 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, writ denied)(injury occurred only on date of either of two surgeries).