Justice Sweeny teaches us another lesson on the distinctions among medical professionals. Nancy Perez, the victim in a car accident, was treated by defendant, a chiropractor, for pain in her neck radiating down her arms. The chiropractor ordered MRIs and relied on the radiologist’s report, but never viewed the films herself. While the report mentioned several herniated or bulging discs in plaintiff’s neck, it failed to diagnose the tumor in her spine. Plaintiff treated numerous times with others and a defendant chiropractor, but the tumor was not discovered until another chiropractor referred her to an orthopedist who, with a fresh MRI, found the tumor. Neurosurgery followed.
In the subsequent malpractice action (for failing to refer plaintiff for a second MRI,) the first chiropractor, the defendant, moved to dismiss the complaint as time-barred. After all, the action was brought more than 2 1/2 years after the date of accrual.
If you see this coming, then good for you. CPLR 214-a, the truncated, “doctors are leaving New York,” malpractice SOL, applies only to “medical, dental or podiatric malpractice.” All other professional malpractice is governed by the 3 year SOL in CPLR 214(6) - - and that means chiropractors too. Motion denied. Referral by a physician would have changed that result, we’re told.