When four-year-old Jesse Matlock went in for surgery earlier this month in Portland, Oregon, his parents expected the doctor to help correct strabismus in his right eye, which in medical terms is a wandering eye. The surgeon, however, allegedly operated on the wrong eye, realized her mistake and then repeated the procedure on the correct eye – without telling the patient’s parents until the procedures were complete.
Our Maryland Injury Attorneys have significant experience represent Plaintiffs who have been injured by medical errors.
The boy’s parents were particularly upset that the doctor performed the second operation without informing the parents of her mistake until both procedures were complete. They learned of the issue when a nurse informed them that the doctor was operating on both eyes, without explaining why, the boy’s parents said.
The parents allege that the doctor eventually spoke with them and informed them that she lost her sense of direction because the mark she had made on the correct eye was covered up.
While the extent of Matlock’s injuries are unclear at this point, his parents have concerns that the unnecessary surgery may affect his sight in the future.
His parents indicate that they may consult an attorney – and they should.
One of the issues that must be considered, particularly in cases affecting minors, is when is the appropriate time to file suit where the extent of the injuries are uncertain. This issue is addressed by Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts & Judicial Proceedings § 5-109. In Maryland, the general rule is that an action for medical malpractice must be initiated within three years of the date the injury was discovered or five years from the time the injury was committed. The three-year rule is called the Statute of Limitations and the five-year rule is called the Statute of Repose.
For a child with similar injuries, however, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until he turns the age of 11. In other words, if this incident occurred in Maryland, Jesse’s parents would generally have until the time Jesse turned 14 to file a complaint against the doctor.
That is why the Statute of Limitations is an issue that must always be considered by attorneys representing plaintiffs. That is also why it always makes sense to contact an attorney as soon as an injury is discovered.
If you believe that you have been injured by a medical provider’s negligence, contact the Brassel, Alexander & Rice for a free consultation.