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Hospitalized patient did not sue quickly enough after "suspecting" malpractice

Mary Dennis was hospitalized for unrelated reasons when physicians at Henry Ford Hospital told Mary and her daughter that they had discovered colon cancer and that it had been present for at least five years.  Dennis filed a Notice of Intent to Sue six months and seven days later, claiming that the Henry Ford physicians who treated her in 2006 were guilty of malpractice for failing to inform her of the presence of the tumor.  The Court held that Mary's claim must be dismissed with prejudice because she didn't file the Noticeof Intent to Sue within six months of "discovering the existence of her claim." 

The Court of Appeals judges noted that the Engler Majority of Michigan Supreme Court Justices has previously ruled that the six-month discovery rule standard "does not require that the plaintiff know that the injury, in the form of the advancement of the disease process, was in fact or even likely caused by the defendant doctors' alleged admissions:"  rather the time to sue begins to run as soon as the victim "should have known of a possible cause of action."  The judges held that no time is allowed the victim to investigate and confirm a "possible" claim and the time available is not "tolled" while the patient is hospitalized--absent proof of actual mental incapacity.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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