Texas Case Challenges Time Limits on Malpractice Lawsuits

Posted on Sep 29, 2009

"Surgical sponges left inside two Texas women - but undiscovered for years - will test state laws that place fairly strict time limits on suing doctors and hospitals for malpractice." The sponges were discovered after nine and eleven years, respectively, "long after the two-year statute of limitations had expired." Both cases "are before the Texas Supreme Court, which will decide whether their legal challenges should continue. The women argue that enforcing the lawsuit deadlines would deny them access to the courts - a right guaranteed by the Texas Constitution - because they had no way of knowing that misplaced sponges were causing their health problems until a surgeon found and removed the objects. But doctors and hospitals say time limits for lawsuits - intended by the Legislature to lower malpractice insurance rates and attract more doctors to Texas - provide a public benefit that outweighs the rights of individual plaintiffs."

Austin American Statesman. 9/29/09

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