Coastal Surgical Inst. v. BlevinsAnnotate this Case
In 2010, Blevins had knee surgery at a surgical facility. The knee later became infected by bacteria, subsequently found on a sponge manufactured by Ruhof that had been used to clean surgical equipment before the surgery. The bacteria had apparently "survived the sterilization process." The surgical center paid Blevins $4,118.23 for medical expenses he incurred in treating the infection. Blevins did not sign an agreement releasing the center from liability; he was not represented by counsel and the center did not give him written notice of the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice action. More than 15 months after receiving the payment, Blevins filed suit. Ruhof settled for $100,000. The trial court, relying on Insurance Code section 11583, ruled that the one-year limitations period was tolled by the payment of medical expenses. The trial court reduced a jury’s award of damages against the surgical facility to $285,114. The court of appeal affirmed. Section 11583, which provides that the applicable statute of limitations is tolled when advance or partial payment is made to an injured and unrepresented person without notifying him of the applicable limitations period, applies to the one-year limitations period for medical malpractice actions.