Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Department Holds That Leaving A Medical Practice Does Not Prevent Application Of The Continuous Treatment Doctrine

In Ozimek v. Staten Island Physicians Practice, P.C., the plaintiff brought a medical malpractice action against Dr. Kulkarni and Staten Island Physicians Practice alleging a failure to diagnose breast cancer.  Dr. Kulkarni, however, had left the medical group more than two-and-a-half years prior to the plaintiff's commencement of her action.  Prior to leaving the group he studied a mammogram and wrote a letter to the plaintiff asking her to return for a follow-up. The letter asked the plaintiff to come back because a finding from the mammogram called for additional examination. The plaintiff returned and was seen by other radiologists. After that visit, the plaintiff returned for additional examinations, mammograms, and an ultrasound. Based on those tests, medical group physicians told the plaintiff that cysts and lymph nodes appeared benign.  The plaintiff, however, later was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, held that the plaintiffs raised a triable issue of fact as to whether plaintiff was undergoing a continuous course of treatment with the medical group. The Second Department also held that leaving the medical group did not prevent the application of the continuous treatment doctrine to Dr. Kulkarni. The Court held that treatment by other physicians in the group may be imputed to Dr. Kulkarni.

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