On Wednesday the Clarion-Ledger reported a $500,000 verdict against University of Mississippi Medical Center (“UMC”) in a Hinds County Circuit Court bench trial. Judge Tommie Green presided in the case and rendered the verdict.
The case resulted from the 2005 death of 28–year old Tamika Foster less than 48 hours after the emergency delivery of a baby. The case appeared to focus on UMC’s failure to consult a hematologist despite a low blood platelet count. The article explains:
An autopsy determined Foster died as a result of myocardial ischemia with arrhythmia, secondary to thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura with a history of HELLP.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, a much more deadly illness than HELLP, was never diagnosed prior to Foster’s death, Green said
Medical experts have defined TTP as a rare disorder where small blood clots form suddenly throughout the body, leading to a sharp decrease in the number of platelets in the blood stream.
The case was decided in a bench trial because the Mississippi Tort Claims Act requires bench trials in lawsuits against government entities, which includes UMC. The Act also places a hard-cap recovery limit of $500,000 for both economic and non-economic damages. Judge Green set the Plaintiff’s damages at $1.2 million and then reduced the verdict to $500,000 to comply with the Tort Claims Act.
David Dunbar of Jackson represented the Plaintiff. Walter Johnson of Watkins Eager in Jackson represented UMC.