Looking for specific answers regarding Statute of Limitations in CA for Medical Malpractice - misdiagnosis of cancer

My Mother In-Law went to a local San Fran hospital in 3/09 for a routine colonoscopy. Colonoscopy was performed and nothing was found. 5 months later in 8/09 (late August), she went in with symptoms including internal bleeding and vomiting. Surgery was performed and a cancerous tumor was found in the bottom of her small intestine. After surgery she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, which we believe could have been prevented if the tumor was found during the colonoscopy. Hospital stated their colonoscopy scan does not reach the small intestine. Her current Dr. here in WI does not believe the tumor should have been missed during a colonoscopy We are simply wondering, in our specific case, when the SOL would start - back in March of 09 or when tumor was found in late august 2009?

San Francisco, CA -

Attorney Answers (1)

Anthony T. DiPietro

Anthony T. DiPietro

Medical Malpractice Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

I'm sorry to hear about this. Hopefully, someone from California will weigh in with the answer to your question about the Statute of Limitations. I have couple other thoughts for you:
1. Is it possible they didn't do a full colonoscopy? They may have just done a anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy and not have gone all the way to junction of the small bowel and the large bowel (called the cecum) where it sounds like the cancer was located.
2. If she's Stage 4, it's likely that the cancer was there way longer than 5 months. When was the most recent colonoscopy before this one? The general rule (depending on the type of cancer, etc) is that a delay of less that 6 months isn't enough to show the delay made a difference had it been caught earlier. Good luck.

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