Under Minnesota law, all malpractice claims against “health care providers” must be brought within 4 years of the date that the “cause of action accrued.” Min. Stat. § 541.076
. The term “health care provider” includes doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists and any other licensed professional. It also includes hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities providing medical care. Min Stat. § 145.61.
In Minnesota, the date that a “cause of action accrues” (which begins the 4 year time period) is based on when the actionable injury occurs. Minnesota has explicitly rejected the well-known “discovery rule” followed in most jurisdictions. Molloy v. Meier
, 660 N.W.2d 444, 454 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003), aff’d
, 679 N.W.2d 711 (Minn. 2004). To balance out some of the harsh results of a limitations period without the discovery rule, the courts in Minnesota have developed several tolling doctrines for medical malpractice claims. These tolling doctrines extend the date for when the limitations period begins. The “termination of treatment” rule is the tolling doctrine used to establish the accrual date for most malpractice claims in Minnesota. Under this rule, the 4-year limitations period does not begin until the doctor’s treatment for a particular condition concludes. See Broek v. Park Nicollet Health Servs.,
660 N.W.2d 439, 442 (Minn. 2003). The doctor’s treatment terminates when he is no longer seeing the patient and there is nothing more to be done. The termination of treatment doctrine is not applicable in cases where the alleged malpractice involves a “single act” such as a surgical error. See, e.g.
, Murray v. Fox
, 220 N.W.2d 356 (Minn. 1974) (applying “single act” exception to claim based on negligent surgical procedure). The “termination of treatment” rule does not apply to medical malpractice claims based on misdiagnosis. A malpractice claim for failure to diagnose accrues when the plaintiff suffers some form of “compensable damage” as a result of the misdiagnosis. MacRae v. Group Health Plan, Inc.
, 753 N.W.2d 711 (Minn. 2008)(rejecting the argument by the doctor that cause of action should accrue when alleged misdiagnosis occurred since compensable injury not suffered until years later).