Continuing Treatment Doctrine Adopted in Massachusetts: Parr v. Rosenthal

In Massachusetts, there is a three year statute of limitations on bringing claims for medical malpractice.  In essence, if the allegedly negligent act or omission by a physician took place more than three years prior to the filing of a complaint, the statute of limitations prohibits pursuing a claim.

Health CrossIn Parr v. Rosenthal, a boy had a procedure performed on his leg at November 4, 2005.  Immediately after the procedure, his surgeons informed the boy’s parents that there had been a complication that resulted in a burn to the boy’s leg.  The burn did not heal, and three months later, the boy was readmitted to the hospital after it became infected, and the leg was amputated below the knee on March 20, 2006.  On March 6, 2009 (more than three years after the allegedly negligent procedure that resulted in the burn, but less than three years after the amputation), the boy’s parents filed their medical malpractice action.

The Appeals Court remanded the case to the trial court to instruct the jury consistent with its opinion that the continuing treatment doctrine is applicable in Massachusetts.  The continuing treatment doctrine rolls the running of the statute of limitations during treatment for the same or related illness or injury continuing after an alleged act of malpractice but not during the continuation of a general physician-patient relationship by itself.

The rationale of the opinion speaks to the deference that patients often give their doctors, even after an alleged instance of malpractice, because they trust that the doctor can treat whatever had resulted from the alleged malpractice.

If you should have any questions or concerns about medical malpractice in Massachusetts, contact the attorneys at Finn & Eaton, P.C. in Saugus and Woburn by calling 781 484-1066 or by sending an email to schedule your free initial consultation.