Mississippi Doctor Malpractice – $3.5M Award Patient’s Death

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The Mississippi Supreme Court recently upheld a $3.5 million jury award to the family of a terminally ill cancer patient who overdosed on pain pills in a hospice, but whose autopsy later showed that she did not have cancer at all.

The underlying medical malpractice case

The underlying medical malpractice case involves a woman who was diagnosed with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pancreatic cancer. Terminally ill and with less than six months to live, she went into hospice and overdosed on pain killers. However, an autopsy revealed that she never had cancer. Her family sued the doctor who misdiagnosed her and a jury awarded them $3.5 million. Part of that award represented Loss of Chance Recovery. The physician alleged that he should not be responsible as the patient was terminally ill. The case made its way to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Loss of Chance Recovery defined

Loss of Chance Recovery is a doctrine that allows for damages when someone’s negligence deprived another of the opportunity to obtain a benefit or avoid a loss. In this case, the family alleged that the doctor’s negligence in misdiagnosing the terminally ill woman actually caused the woman’s death by overdose. The court agreed with the family and reasoned that:

Loss-of-chance-of-recovery theory instructions are generally submitted by plaintiffs in circumstances where a medical provider’s negligence does not cause a patient’s injury or death but arguably hindered the patient from achieving reasonably probable and substantial recovery from injury. [Here, the doctor] was alleged to have caused the death of [the patient] due to an overdose, not to have hindered [her] recovery.

Med Mal injuries and resulting damages

Medical malpractice claims are arguably one of the most difficult types of negligence cases to litigate. The injuries tend to be greater and the resulting damages higher than other types of negligence cases. In most situations, medical malpractice lawyers must consult with teams of experts and determine the value of damages such as Loss of Chance Recovery and others.

Don’t leave your medical malpractice claim to chance; consult with an experienced Mississippi medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

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