In the case discussed below, the plaintiff attempted to make use of what is known as the “continuing course of treatment doctrine.” The continuing course of treatment doctrine allows the statute of limitations to be tolled while the defendant is still providing medical care to the plaintiff. The general policy on this doctrine is that if a patient continues to be treated by a physician or provider, the patient should not be required to stop the treatment to commence litigation simply because a statute of limitations is about to expire.
Anchor driver piece found near pelvic bone
In 2001, a defendant urologist performed a bladder suspension surgery on the plaintiff to address incontinence. During the surgery, the defendant urologist placed titanium anchors into the plaintiff’s pelvic bone by the use of an anchor driver, a metal device. In 2015, part of an anchor driver was found inside the plaintiff’s body near her pelvic bone and was removed. In 2016, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice complaint against the health care facility and multiple physicians, including the urologist who performed the 2001 procedure.
In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged she presented to the facility in January 2001 with a symptomatic cystocele and some stress incontinence. She was seen by the defendant urologist, who performed surgery on her in the form of an endoscopic bladder suspension.
Also by Brianne Goodwin, JD, RN: Resident, attending sued over BPH procedure
During the procedure, the defendant urologist used anchors to support the suspension. The plaintiff asserted that after the bladder suspension surgery, she experienced unusual pain in her pelvic area. The plaintiff alleged that she notified the urologist of her continuing pain and was told there was nothing wrong. Specifically, she alleged that she returned to defendants twice in 2004, again in 2009, and in 2012, complaining of continued pain that she associated with the surgical procedure in 2001.
The plaintiff asserted that diagnostic imaging was performed at all four visits and each time she was informed that the imaging showed nothing that could account for her painful symptoms. However, according to the plaintiff, the x-rays from 2009 and 2012 clearly showed a foreign body in her pelvis.
The plaintiff additionally alleged that she underwent a second surgical procedure with the defendant urologist in 2012 in the form of a bladder instillation and transvaginal obturator tape procedure. When consulting with the urologist about the second surgery, the plaintiff complained that she felt as if something were poking into her in her pelvic region. The plaintiff asserted that the urologist dismissed her concerns.
In 2014, the plaintiff presented to an emergency department with pain. At this visit, the plaintiff underwent a computed tomography scan of her abdomen and pelvis. According to the plaintiff, a radiologist read the scan and noted a 2.2-cm metallic object.
The plaintiff alleged when she next returned to the health care facility in 2015 reporting pain, she was ultimately diagnosed with pubic cellulitis overlaying retained public symphysis hardware. She stated she was informed that she might have an anchor in her pubic bone that needed to be removed and was transferred to a tertiary hospital. The plaintiff alleged that another x-ray report noted the anchor device from her surgery and opined that it may represent a piece of broken hardware.
The plaintiff subsequently underwent surgery at the hospital to remove the object, which she asserted proved to be the instrument part that was used to place anchors for the bladder surgery and was abandoned by the defendant urologist and left within her.