Malpractice defendants' effort to seek procedural dismissal are rebuffedThe procedural requirements necessary to file a medical malpractice claim in Michigan are very complicated, as is the resulting statute of limitations. The Defendants in Hoffman v. Boonsiri, et al., attempted to use these complicated rules to dismiss Corinne Hoffman's claim against her doctor and Mercy Memorial Hospital Corporation. Hoffman suffered severe ischemic injury to her left hand and arm after Boonsiri and the hospital were allegedly negligent and delayed responding to an arteriovenous fistula.
According to the Court of Appeals' opinion, Hoffman's condition went untreated by the Defendants, after surgery, until she was transferred to another hospital, where emergency surgery was unsuccessful due to the delay caused by the Defendants' alleged negligence. The Defendants sought dismissal of Hoffman's claim, based on the argument that Hoffman's filing of an amended Notice of Intent required her to wait six months before filing suit--since she had taken advantage of the tolling period for filing that is afforded by filing a late amendment.
The Court noted that under the clear statutory language, when Hoffman filed an amended notice that added a single additional claim of negligence (i.e., that the surgeon had not made rounds properly to communicate with the nursing staff and maintain awareness of Hoffman's post-surgical status), the filing of the amended notice tolled (or extended) the statute of limitations for six months. The judges also explained that the original "good faith" notice afforded the Defendants more than 300 days of "notice" where only 180 days notice is required. Therefore, by strict construction of the pertinent statutes, the Defendants could not claim prejudice requiring dismissal of the claim simply because the Plaintiff did not wait an additional six months after the amended notice was filed, before filing the lawsuit.