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JOHN S. HUNSICKER AND MARJORIE M. HUNSICKER v. ROBERT W. CONNOR (08/26/83)

filed: August 26, 1983.

JOHN S. HUNSICKER AND MARJORIE M. HUNSICKER, APPELLANTS,
v.
ROBERT W. CONNOR, M.D. AND NORTH PENN HOSPITAL



No. 999 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Civil Division, at No. 78-20349.

COUNSEL

Michael J. Clement, Norristown, for appellants.

George H. Knoell, Norristown, for Connor, appellee.

Jan E. DuBois, Philadelphia, for North Penn, appellee.

Spaeth, Wieand, and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 419]

Appellant contends that the lower court erred in holding that the statute of limitations had barred his action and in granting appellees summary judgment. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the lower court.

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 420]

Summary judgment may be granted only "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Pa.R.Civ.P. 1035(b). "To determine the absence of a genuine issue of fact, the court must take the view of the evidence most favorable to the non-moving party, and any doubts must be resolved against the entry of the judgment." Husak v. Berkel, Inc., 234 Pa. Superior Ct. 452, 458, 341 A.2d 174, 177 (1975). So viewed, the facts are as follows:

On November 22, 1974, appellant was injured when fragments of a steel button he was hammering flew into his left eye. Appellant sought treatment from appellee, North Penn Hospital and was referred to a local eye clinic where appellee, Dr. Connor, treated him. No x-rays were taken, but Dr. Connor prescribed antibiotics and appellant's blurriness and hemorrhaging soon abated. Appellant had no further difficulties until early in 1976 when the redness and blurriness recurred. Eyeglasses prescribed by an optometrist failed to alleviate the problem and appellant went to Dr. Louis Goldberg, an opthamologist, in September 1976. Appellant informed Dr. Goldberg of his accident and subsequent treatment by Dr. Connor. Dr. Goldberg ordered x-rays and on October 5, 1976 informed appellant that a foreign object was in his left eye. Dr. Goldberg referred appellant to Dr. William H. Annesley, Jr., who, following an ultra-sound examination, concurred in Dr. Goldberg's findings. On October 14, 1976, Dr. Annesley explained his findings to appellant and informed him that a foreign object remained in his eye from the 1974 accident, and instructed him to seek medical coverage from his employer's insurer. On October 26, 1976, Dr. Annesley attempted to surgically remove the foreign object using a magnet. Although the object moved, indicating magnetic qualities, it had become too encapsulized to be removed magnetically. The object was surgically removed on December 2, 1976 but appellant's

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 421]

    condition continued to worsen and he eventually lost all vision in his left eye on January 13, 1977. Appellant's counsel submitted the facts of the case to a medical-legal consultant and received a report on April 12, 1978 suggesting that appellees had been negligent in their treatment of appellant.

On November 17, 1978, appellant brought this action against appellees, Dr. Connor and North Penn Hospital alleging malpractice in their 1974 treatment. Appellees raised the affirmative defense of statute of limitations in their new matters. Following the taking of depositions and the filing of an amended complaint and amended new matters, appellees moved for summary judgment. The lower court granted summary judgment determining that appellant discovered the injury no later than ...


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