A recent Ohio ruling upholding the state law regarding the time limit on filing medical malpractice lawsuits is important because such limits, past events could forever adversely affect important medical business operations.
That is the view of Richard Sites, general counsel and senior director of Health Policy for Ohio Hospital Association. He said that a variety of important functions including medical record keeping, liability insurance purchases, the purchase and financing of new technology, mergers and acquisitions and research would be adversely affected if Ohio’s four year time limit on filing med-mal cases was removed.
“Additionally, the medical provider would forever be haunted by the fear that someone in the distant past could suddenly file a legal action, and do so when memories of the event were impaired, medical records destroyed and witnesses unavailable due to relocation or death,” he added. “Opportunities to benefit society would be frozen or at least impeded by fear of events – forgotten or unknown – lurking in the past.”
He said the recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court means a medical provider has more certainty that events in the past will not adversely affect future medical business operations. To date, 32 US states and one territory have enacted med mal statutes of repose, and at least 16 states have upheld those statutes against constitutional challenges.
“Only one state (KY) found its statute of repose unconstitutional, and that was a 1990 ruling that might be decided differently today,” added Sites.
Computerized entry systems, errors, CPOE systems, med mal, medical malpractice