If your loved one dies as a result of bad medical care, but lives for more than two years, do you think you can still sue the doctor who provided the poor care?
Not in Michigan. Not anymore
The Taylor led supreme court in Wickens v Oakwood Healthcare System, 465 Mich 53 (2001) changed well established law and held that a person cannot sue for the loss of an opportunity to survive until after they die, and they must die within the two year statute of limitations or the person’s heirs will be denied court access.
In Wilson v Plyler, No. 268567 (Mich App 2007) the court implemented the Wickens decision and dismissed the families lawsuit because the patient died more than two years after the malpractice. The court noted “This leads to the rather odd result that a plaintiff who has the good fortune-or misfortune, depending on one’s point of view-to survive more than 2 years and thirty days after an act or omission that significantly reduces his or her chances of long term survival will be barred from suing a medical malpractice tortfeasor before he or she even has an enforceable claim.”
This is a particularly odious decision for cancer victims. Say the radiologist just misses the breast cancer on a mammogram. Three years later the patient dies from the cancer which has now spread throughout her body. Guess what Justice Taylor says to the family. Sorry, no case. To late to file a lawsuit, even though you could not file the lawsuit before they died.
If you think this kind of judicial activism is wrong, vote to restore fairness by voting for Judge Hathaway for the Michigan Supreme Court on the nonpartisan section of the ballot this November. Remember, you have not cast a vote for the supreme court until you check the box next to Judge Hathaway’s name.