Time ran out for patients filing malpractice cases against spine surgeon, court rules

Alan Condon -   Print  |

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Dec. 23 that two patients waited too long to refile their medical malpractice cases against a spine surgeon and the Cincinnati hospitals where he performed the surgeries.

The ruling relates to Atiq Durrani, MD, who fled to Pakistan in 2013 after he was charged with performing unnecessary surgeries on more than 500 patients. He previously practiced at UC Health in Cincinnati and its affiliate West Chester Hospital.

The patients initially filed lawsuits against Dr. Durrani and the hospitals in Butler County, but later voluntarily dismissed the cases without prejudice, which allowed them to be refiled later.

The cases were later refiled in Hamilton County, where many former patients filed related claims against the surgeon.

Dr. Durrani and the hospitals argued that the refiled cases be dismissed, citing Ohio's "statute of repose," as the claims related to surgeries that occurred more than four years before the refiling.

The trial court agreed with the defendants and dismissed the cases. The patients' appeals then brought the cases to the Ohio Supreme Court.

In a 5-2 decision, the court found that Ohio's statute of repose for medical injury claims gives patients four years to file a claim against a provider. Additionally, Ohio's "savings statute" extends a plaintiff's right to refile and extends the time to file a medical malpractice case.

However, the court noted that the savings statute is intended as an exception to the statute of repose for product liability claims, further demonstrating that the time limit is not extended for medical claims.

Click here to read more on the ruling.

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