Hospital’s Failure to Maintain Equipment May Constitute Professional Negligence

  The California Supreme Court holds that where a plaintiff’s injury results from alleged negligence in the use and maintenance of equipment needed to implement a physician’s order concerning plaintiff’s medical treatment, the claim sounds in professional, rather than ordinary, negligence. The special statute of limitations period “for injury or death against a health care provider based upon such person’s alleged professional negligence” is applicable.

  Generally, a personal injury action generally must be filed within two years of the date on which the challenged act or omission occurred. [Code Civ. Proc., § 335.1.] However, unlike most personal injury actions, professional negligence actions against health care providers must be brought within “three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.” [Code Civ. Proc., § 340.5.]

  The facts of any particular case for personal injury against a health care provider will determine whether the statute of limitations is lengthened, or shortened, by this holding. The case is Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.

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