Sheehy, Serpe & Ware Secures Appellate Victory in a Retained Medical Instrument Case

Sheehy, Serpe & Ware successfully represented a Houston Area medical center in a retained medical instrument case before the First District Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. The case arose out of tubal ligation surgery performed in December 1995. Plaintiff claimed that the hospital was negligent because a surgical sponge was retained in her after the surgery was completed. For ten years after the surgery, she suffered chronic abdominal pain and other ailments. She attributed her pain to the retained sponge after a surgeon discovered it in her body in April 2005. She filed suit in August 2005.

The trial court granted a summary judgment in favor of the hospital on statute of limitations grounds. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the statute of limitations violated the open courts guarantee under the Texas Constitution because it cut off her claim before she new or should have known of the existence of the sponge. The First District found that she had a reasonable opportunity to discover her injury during the ten years she suffered pain after the tubal ligation surgery in December 1995. It rejected the argument that her lack of medical training and the failure of subsequent treating physicians to discover the cause of her chronic pain showed that she could not have reasonably discovered her injury within the two year statute of limitations. The First District held that plaintiff failed to present any evidence establishing that she did not have a reasonable opportunity to discover her injuries and file suit within the two year statute.
Richard Sheehy, shareholder, headed the legal team in the appellate court. Randall Jones, shareholder, headed the legal team in the trial court.
Author: Randall Jones
Phone: (713) 951-1059
Fax: (713) 951-1199
Website: www.sswpc.com