In the December 20, 2013 written opinion issued in a Mississippi medical malpractice case filed under the Federal Torts Claims Act, a Mississippi federal judge has once again criticized Mississippi’s $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, quoting his written opinion in a prior case that we blogged about on July 3, 2013: “All grief is not equal. All pain cannot be reduced to a one-size-fits-all sum … In Mississippi, though, one’s suffering at the hands of a health care provider is worth no more than half a million dollars, no matter how egregious, and no matter if your suffering leads to your death … ”
In the more recent case decided on December 20, 2013, a twelve-year-old boy unnecessarily died from sepsis on June 12, 2007 due to medical negligence, as determined by the federal judge who heard the case from August 6 through August 13, 2012. The federal judge credited the testimony of the plaintiffs’ medical experts and discounted the defense in determining that a federal health care facility provided negligent health care to the boy on April 7, 2007 that led to his death.
In discussing Mississippi’s $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages as it applied to the facts of the case he was deciding, the federal judge stated, “This Court finds that the non-economic harm suffered … far exceeds the $500,000 cap. This case presents a deeply sad and painful story—a story made sadder and more painful by the laws of the state of the Mississippi. Plaintiff’s ultimate recovery is substantially below the actual damage that the Plaintiff and the wrongful death beneficiaries have suffered. Brandon’s life has concluded. At twelve years old, he missed the opportunity to experience the joys and heartaches, triumphs and failures that he, his parents and his sibling expected to share. From nagging and tattling on a sibling to being nagged and tattled on—those days have ended for Brandon. From being embarrassed by receiving a loving hug from his parents to looking forward to giving a warm embrace to those same parents—those days have ended for Brandon. From being dismissive of the notion that he might one day want to attend a prom, date and spend his time with someone special to anticipating those very days—those days have been taken away from Brandon. No more basketball for Brandon whether in PE or in his father’s backyard. No days left to play Angry Birds, video games, read a book, solve math problems or to anticipate the next creation that causes children and adults to say, “When that comes out, I am going to buy it!” … Brandon should not have been required to exit life’s stage so early. His last act was full of pain – the unimaginable pain that he endured; the never-ending pain that those who love him had to suffer while he made that painful transition; and the pain that they continue to endure. It did not have to happen. The place that Brandon held in the lives of his family members and all those who knew and loved him remains empty, and the laws of Mississippi make that place even emptier.”
Source Wendy Chickaway, Individually, and as Administrator and Personal Representative of the Estate of Brandon Phillips, a Minor, and on Behalf of all Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Brandon Phillips, Deceased, Plaintiff v. United States of America, Civil Action No. 4:11-CV-22 CWR LRA, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Eastern District.
If you or a family member suffered serious injury or other substantial harm as a result of medical malpractice in Mississippi or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly contact a Mississippi medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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