Indiana Court of Appeals Rejects Woman’s Claim of Continuing Wrong
Jessica Szamocki received a colon exam and a biopsy in November 2012 from an unnamed doctor (unidentified in the complaint). The doctor instructed Szamocki to take one tablet of an ulcerative colitis medication once a day. The doctor failed to warn his patient of the risks of taking the medication, including the fact that the drug’s manufacturer recommended that a patient’s renal function be evaluated prior to and while taking the medication to avoid renal impairment. The doctor failed to get this evaluation done on Szamocki.
A few months after beginning the prescription, Szamocki developed a rash on her arms and began to notice symptoms of arthritis. After a nurse practitioner noted concerns about her “drastically reduced” renal function, Dr. Richard Hellman, a nephrologist, informed Szamocki that she was suffering from acute renal failure from the medication. Other specialists also theorized that the medication may have been causing her renal failure, so Szamocki decided on her own to quit taking the drug in May 2013.
Szamocki started to explore pursuing a legal claim. In February 2015, Dr. Evamaria Anvari, a nephrologist at the Cleveland Clinic, gave Szamocki a diagnosis that she believed confirmed that “more likely than not,” there was a link between Lialda and her renal failure. Szamocki then filed suit for medical malpractice in February 2015.
The doctor sought summary judgement because he believed the 2-year statute of limitations had ran. The Marion Superior Court granted summary judgment to the doctor, prompting Szamocki to appeal. Specifically, Szamocki argued that the statute was tolled until May 2, 2013 under the doctrine of continuing wrong and that her complaint was filed within a reasonable time after she exercised “reasonable diligence” to discover the malpractice.
Szamocki appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals and they upheld the Marion Superior Court decision to throw the case out. The Court reasoned that Szamocki’s last visit was in December of 2012. Also, other doctors had informed Szamocki in 2013 and 2014 that the prescription drug was the possible cause of her renal failure.
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