New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion on “Foreign Object” Exception to Medical Malpractice Statute of Repose

The Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an important ruling on the “foreign object” exception to the medical malpractice statute of repose and statute of limitations. The case is Chambers v. Semmer, M.D., and deals with what exactly constitutes a foreign object. The plaintiff’s theory in the case is that a hemoclip was negligently placed on her ureter during a surgery and left there, later causing her left kidney to fail. The defendants countered that they did not leave any hemoclip on the plaintiff’s ureter, but that “hemoclips are used intentionally and are intended to remain permanently,” so they could not be foreign objects. The Supreme Court rejected the defendants’ argument, ruling “that a hemoclip that is intentionally used but negligently placed and negligently left in a patient’s body following surgery may be a “foreign object” under Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-116(a)4) that establishes an exception to the one-year statute of limitations and the three-year statute of repose.”

Read more about the opinion at our firm’s Tennessee Medical Malpractice Blog.