Doctor errors and mistakes can have a serious impact on the treatment and well-being of patients in Arizona and across the country. This can be the case whether the error in question is a surgical mistake, a misdiagnosis or an unlawful disclosure of a patient's health status. Despite the serious effects of medical malpractice that can stretch over the long term, there is a statute of limitations that restricts the period of time in which injured patients can file a claim.
In one recent case, a man in New Jersey sued his physician for medical malpractice after he disclosed the man's HIV-positive status to another person without his consent. The event took place in a consultation in the man's hospital room while he was treated for acute kidney failure. The man attempted to claim that the doctor violated his rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but patients cannot file private lawsuits over HIPAA violations.
He then sued the physician for medical malpractice for the improper disclosure, violation of the AIDS Assistance Act and invasion of privacy. While the physician and associated hospital sought to dismiss the case for being outside a one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims, they were not successful. The plaintiff did not sue for defamation, and he held that the medical malpractice claim and its associated two-year statute of limitations should apply to all of his claims, a stance adopted by the court.
Whether a patient was a victim of a breach of confidentiality or a misdiagnosis that prevented timely treatment of a progressive disease, doctor errors can cause worsened medical conditions and lifelong effects. A medical malpractice attorney may consult with a patient who has been affected by a doctor's mistreatment to discuss potential steps to pursue compensation.