In 1970, P gave birth to a normal child. D was her doctor. D performed a surgery on P so that she would not have any more children.
In 1972, P learned that she was pregnant. In 1973, P gave birth to a premature child and had severe complications.
P sued D for negligently performing the surgery to prevent pregnancy. The suit was brought more than 3 years after the initial surgery and 11 months after she found out that she was pregnant.
The law states that malpractice suits must be commenced within one year after cause of action accrued.
Trial court found for D, statute of limitations bars the suit.
TN Supreme Court reversed, reinstated P's claims.
When does the cause of action accrue in medical malpractice cases for statute of limitation purposes?
The cause of action accrues in medical malpractice cases when the patient discovers, or in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence for his own health and welfare, should have discovered the resulting injury.
Our old reasoning is outdated and unfair.
Many states are adopting the "discovery doctrine" which states that the statue of limitations does not begin to run until the negligent injury is, or should have been , discovered.