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Judge dismisses prisoner's medical malpractice claim

Although most residents of western Pennsylvania might not think that the story of a convicted bank robber filing a lawsuit lawsuit over medical malpractice might relate to them, it might surprise them to find out how much it does. The lessons to be learned deal with the man's actions at the time of the alleged wrongdoing and the timing of the lawsuit itself.

The man was arrested in December 2008 on suspicion of robbing Parkvale Savings Bank in South Union. He was shot in the hand by state troopers who thought he was trying to run them over with his truck. As a result, he was treated at a hospital in Pittsburgh for his wound before being transferred to jail two days later. He ultimately pleaded guilty in 2009 to robbing the bank and received a 40-year sentence.

The man filed his lawsuit in July 2011 alleging that prison medical staff and other prison officials did not treat his injury properly. He wrote in his complaint that a prison nurse gave him medication that he was not prescribed by the hospital and that a medical supervisor ignored his complaint.

However, the judge who dismissed the case ruled that the inmate waited too long to file his case. According to the ruling, the two-year statute of limitations for Pennsylvania medical malpractice claims expired before the prisoner could file his suit. Also, the judge ruled that the people named in the suit may not have even been aware of the prisoner's condition.

For people in the Pittsburgh area contemplating filing a medical malpractice claim, this case could serve as a lesson to make sure that claims are filed in a timely manner and the people named in the suit are the correct ones from a legal standpoint.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Inmate's suit over medical care dismissed," Mary Pickels, July 28, 2012

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