Nina Price – a Mississippi woman who’s husband died after doctors failed to diagnose a pituitary tumor — sued the doctors, clinics and hospitals for medical malpractice.
Originally a trial judge dismissed her case claiming that Price didn’t notify the defendants properly before filing the lawsuit. But in a turn of events, the Mississsippi Supreme Court then ruled that the judge erred in his dismissal of Price’s wrongful death lawsuit and granted Price the right to file the lawsuit.
End of story, right? Wrong. This case has opened Pandora’s Box in the state of Mississippi as it is now in the foreground of an ongoing debate between congressman about Mississippi’s Tort Claims Act. Opposing sides are either for the Missisippi Supreme Court’s ruling in Ms. Price’s case or against it.
Our medical malpractice lawyers know that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of wrongful death in the United States. In fact, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), over 225,000 people die each year due to medical malpractice. All states have different laws that govern how their courts handle medical malpractice lawsuits and the Nina Price case has brought forth questions as to whether or not Mississippi is handling those lawsuits correctly.
Nina Price’s medical malpractice lawsuit seemed to be in vain after a judge dismissed her case. The judge said that since the ruling came two years after the original wrongful death lawsuit was filed, the one-year statute of limitations (which sets the maximum period of time, after certain events, that you can take legal action), banned her from going back and suing the health-care professionals. However after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in her favor many Mississippi legislators and congressman opposed the ruling.
The main opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Ms. Price’s case is Governor Haley Barbour.
“(The Supreme Court’s ruling will) subject the state to increased liability, straining state and local resources in the midst of a major economic crisis when state and local budgets are already approaching the breaking point,” Barbour’s lawyers said. “(This ruling) turns back elements of tort reform, particularly the pre-suit notice requirement … increasing the costs faced by health-care providers and their insurers to defend against medical malpractice actions. These increased costs risk returning Mississippi to the pre-tort reform era, with higher premiums and reduced access to medical care.”
On Ms. Price’s side is State Representative Ed Blackmon — a former personal injury lawyer — who said the high court’s decision is fair and correct.
“This is procedural,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the merits of the disposition. The Supreme Court is trying to bring some sense from the stupidity swirling around.”
According to Blackmon, Mississippi is the only state to have a tort reform statute so “draconian.”
“Other states have ruled this kind of statute unconstitutional,” Blackmon said. “(Under Mississppi’s current medical malpractice law), there is no difference between a case where a baby is left comatose for life and a case where a surgeon accidentally cuts off the wrong finger of an adult.”
What’s happening instead, Blackmon said, is Mississippi is reverting to “the dark days when it was a crapshoot whether parties could even get in the courthouse.”
As of now, no resolution has been made between the opposing sides.
Our medical malpractice lawyers believe that Ms. Price has a valid case, so we agree with the decision made by the Missisippi Supreme Court, granting her the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If her husband’s death was the result of medical malpractice, then we believe that the health-care professionals — who failed to diagnose his condition — should be held accountable. Regardless of the other issues surrounding her case.
Please feel free to call us now at 1-800-655-6585 or you can click here for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish. No fee if no recovery.