Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital

CCP 340.5’s one-year-from-discovery limitations period applies to a patient’s claim she was injured by a hospital negligent maintenance of its equipment or furniture if the particular equipment or furniture (here, guard rails on a hospital bed) are integrally related to medical diagnosis or treatment of the patient.  To fall within the scope of CCP 340.5, setting a one-year from discovery time limit on medical malpractice suits, injury must have been caused by the act or omission of a health care provider in the rendering of professional services.  When the patient is injured by hospital equipment or premises, as in this case by the failure of guard rails on her hospital bed, whether section 340.5 applies does not turn on whether any particular level of skill was required in the act or omission causing the injury but instead depends on the relationship between the equipment or premises in question and the provision of medical care to the patient.  If the equipment or premises was reasonably necessary to or integrally related to the medical diagnosis and treatment of the patient, then any negligence in connection with its maintenance or operation is professional negligence within CCP 340.5’s scope.  Here, since the doctor had ordered handrails on plaintiff’s bed because of her medical condition, the failure to properly maintain those handrails, leading to their collapse and the patient’s injury-producing fall, was professional negligence to which CCP 340.5 applies.

California Supreme Court (Kruger, J.); May 5, 2016; 2016 WL 2586110


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