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California Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Tolling


The California Court of Appeal in Maher v. County of Almeda, recently held that health care providers' act of leaving a biliary stent in a patient's body for years after it lost any effectiveness and should have been explanted triggered the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) statute of limitations tolling rule for "the presence of a foreign body" with "no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose," even if the stent served a therapeutic purpose for months after it was implanted under California Code of Civil section 340.5.

The MICRA statute of limitations codified the California common law "foreign object" tolling rule, and the paradigm tolling cases involved such objects as tubes, sponges, pins, and needles that had a therapeutic purpose at the time they were inserted into the patients' bodies. The stent lost its effectiveness within a year, began to disintegrate, and migrated from its original site.

Scott Hughes is a Medical Malpractice attorney in Orange County, CA.

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