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09/28/89 Alma A. Neaterour, v. William Holt Et Al.

September 28, 1989





544 N.E.2d 846, 188 Ill. App. 3d 741, 136 Ill. Dec. 160 1989.IL.1558

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County; the Hon. Edward B. Dittmeyer, Judge, presiding.

Rehearing Denied October 26, 1989.


PRESIDING JUSTICE McCULLOUGH delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and GREEN, JJ., concur.


Plaintiff Alma Neaterour appeals a summary judgment order entered for defendant, Dr. William Holt, pursuant to section 2-1005 of the Civil Practice Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-1005). The trial court found plaintiff's action was barred by the statute of limitations as set forth in section 13-212 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 13-212). Plaintiff contends issues of fact remain disputed; therefore, summary judgment was improper. Alternatively, plaintiff argues her action is timely under the continuous treatment doctrine, and defendant should be estopped from raising the statute of limitations as a defense in this action. We affirm.

This appeal concerns only summary judgment entered for defendant William Holt. On April 8, 1981, plaintiff's left leg gave out from under her and she was unable to walk without assistance. Plaintiff went to Blessing Hospital and was told that her hip was broken. On that day, plaintiff became a patient of the defendant, an orthopedic surgeon. On April 9, 1981, defendant performed surgery on plaintiff's left hip, nailing it together with a sliding compression screw. Prior to surgery, plaintiff asked defendant to put in a total new hip and not a pin because she had heard that the pin would have to be eventually replaced. After surgery and while still in the hospital, plaintiff stated in her deposition defendant told her that the surgery did not go as planned and that the ball of her hip was drilled off-center.

Plaintiff continued under defendant's care and treatment after her surgery and visited defendant monthly at Quincy Clinic from May 20, 1981, through May 10, 1982. At the first visit on May 20, 1981, plaintiff told defendant she was in a lot of pain. On June 30, 1981, defendant told plaintiff that her hip was well healed and it looked good. On August 12, 1981, plaintiff mentioned to defendant the possibility of seeing another doctor in order to find out the cause of her constant pain. Defendant got very angry and, according to the plaintiff, told plaintiff to trust him and have faith in him.

On October 12, 1981, defendant told plaintiff he wanted her to see his associate, Dr. Gilchrist. Prior to the appointment with Dr. Gilchrist, plaintiff went to the University of Missouri Medical School and saw doctors Harper and Burchard. Harper told plaintiff that the ball of her left hip was dying and that it would never heal. Harper told plaintiff that the surgery would have to be done over and she needed a total hip replacement. As to her appointment with Dr. Gilchrist, October 15, 1981, plaintiff stated Gilchrist looked at the X rays defendant had taken but did not tell her anything. Sometime between October 26, 1981, and November 9, 1981, plaintiff told defendant of the opinion of the Missouri doctors. Plaintiff stated defendant got angry and said that Missouri X rays were no better than his and he did not need to talk to the Missouri doctors. According to the plaintiff, defendant continued to tell her to have faith in him and trust him. She therefore decided to continue in defendant's care.

On March 11, 1982, plaintiff saw another orthopedic surgeon, Andre Edmonds, at the request of her insurance company. Edmonds reviewed plaintiff's X rays and noticed that plaintiff's left leg was longer than her right leg. According to the plaintiff, Edmonds stated he could not see how any doctor could make plaintiff's leg that much longer. He also told plaintiff that removal of the pin in her hip would alleviate her discomfort somewhat but he would not perform the surgery until plaintiff was released from defendant's care.

Plaintiff's last treatment with defendant was on May 10, 1982. At that time, plaintiff stated defendant told her he did not see the need for further surgery but he would remove the pin in plaintiff's left hip if plaintiff wanted him to. No further treatment or procedures were recommended by the defendant.

In August 1982, plaintiff returned to the University of Missouri Medical School for tests. At that time, Harper told plaintiff that her hip was dead due to avascular necrosis. Avascular necrosis is a common post-operative complication in fractures of the femoral neck in the hip joint. Approximately 25% of patients with hip fractures like plaintiff's develop this complication. Avascular necrosis is a deterioration of the bone caused by an interference with the blood supply which results in the death of the bone. In September 1982, Harper performed a total hip replacement on plaintiff.

On May 10, 1984, plaintiff filed suit against defendant, Quincy Clinic, and Blessing Hospital. Blessing Hospital was dismissed from this action with prejudice on December 20, 1985. Plaintiff alleged defendant negligently repaired her hip fracture and was negligent in his post-operative treatment. In his answer filed on September 12, 1986, defendant denied liability. On March 7, 1988, defendant was granted leave to file an affirmative defense to plaintiff's action. Defendant alleged that plaintiff's action was barred by the statute of limitations applicable to medical malpractice actions. On June 10, 1988, defendant filed a motion for ...

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