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Chrissie Cole
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Opposing Laws may Determine Medical Malpractice Case

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Conflicting laws may decide if the estate of an Allen County woman can sue a Fort Wayne nursing home for medical malpractice that resulted in her death. The arguments went before the Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday.

The woman, 68, was living in the Bethlehem Woods Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, in September 2001, when workers at the facility allegedly left her on a bedpan for over six hours.

She developed pressure sores and had to be transported to the hospital the following day, according to court records. She died on November 6, 2001.

In October 2003, her estate filed a wrongful death claim against the nursing home. The case was moved to Wells County, where a trial judge granted summary judgment to the nursing home.

The issue before the appellate court Monday was whether the estate must abide by the medical malpractice statute of limitations, which is two years from the occurrence of the alleged malpractice, or the wrongful death statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of death.

In this case, the estate met the limitation for wrongful death but filed a month late for medical malpractice.

For more information, please visit our section on Medical Malpractice.