Aldana v. StillwagonAnnotate this Case
Mike Stillwagon, a paramedic supervisor, was driving his employer’s pickup truck to the location of an injured victim to supervise the emergency response when he collided with a vehicle driven by Gerardo Aldana. Aldana subsequently filed a negligence suit against Stillwagon a year and a half later. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) limits the time to file suit against a health care provider for professional negligence to one year from the date the injury is discoverable, Code Civ. Proc., 340.5. The trial court concluded that Aldana's suit was time-barred under MICRA. After briefing was complete and before the court heard oral argument, the state Supreme Court decided Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, which held that “the special statute of limitations for professional negligence actions against health care providers applies only to actions alleging injury suffered as a result of negligence in rendering the professional services that hospitals and others provide by virtue of being health care professionals: that is, the provision of medical care to patients.” The court found that, while Stillwagon’s status as a paramedic may demonstrate that he was a medical professional, the automobile collision remains a “garden-variety” accident not resulting from the violation of a professional obligation but from a failure to exercise reasonable care in the operation of a motor vehicle. Because the obligation was one that Stillwater owed to the general public by virtue of being a driver and not one that he owed to a patient by virtue of being a paramedic, the court reversed the judgment.