Doctor who provided bad advice was too late in blaming the radiologist
Michigan has adopted a procedure whereby a Defendant who is sued can give notice to the plaintiff/victim and defend the claim by blaming someone else, even if that third-party is not legally responsible for the injury. The Defendant is required to notify the plaintiff of the claimed third-party fault on a timely basis, however, basically within 90 days of answering the suit or promptly upon learning of the culpable third-party. When Margaret Snyder's doctor identified a mass in her uterus, she sent Snyder for an ultrasound. The radiologist apparently mis-read the ultrasound and concluded the mass was benign. On that basis, no further treatment was recommended. After more than a year's delay the mass was ultimately found to be malignant, and Ms. Snyder's survival probability was reduced from greater than 90 percent with prompt removal of the mass pursuant to the standard of care, down to 15 percent: In other words, she was moved from the ranks of almost certain survivors to almost certain fatalities by the doctor's neglect.
Snyder sued the doctor, alleging the above facts, and belatedly the doctor attempted to blame the radiologist without filing suit against this other specialist. The Court denied the treater's effort to "pass the buck," noting that her attorneys had not complied with the Court Rules governing time limits for attempting to shift blame. The case is Snyder v. Advantage Health Physicians. The opinion noted that Plaintiff's Notice of Intent, filed 180 days before her complaint, and the complaint itself, contained adequate information to place the defendant on notice of the potential claim against the radiologist. Therefor the doctor's late notice of third-party fault could not be excused by the exercise of reasonable diligence.