Louisiana Supreme Court Orders Lower Court to Review Medical Malpractice Case

Last month, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to review a ruling that the $500,000 cap on medical malpractice awards cannot constitutionally apply to nurse practitioners. The state’s highest court set aside the appellate court’s ruling from last November and ordered the Third Circuit to reconsider the case “en banc” (with all judges present).

In 2007, a Louisiana jury awarded $6.2 million to the parents of an infant girl suffering from neuroblastoma. The couple alleged that the nurse practitioner at the Magnolia Clinic in Sulphur provided negligent care to their daughter. The jury found the nurse negligent for failing to consult with a physician, as required of nurse practitioners. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that causes disfiguring tumors.

Louisiana medical malpractice law reduced the $6.2 million jury award to $500,000. The jury also awarded the parents over $3 million in future medical expenses. The couple’s attorneys appealed, asking that the appellate court rule the $500,000 cap unconstitutional in their client’s case. A five-judge appellate panel agreed, ruling that the cap discriminates against the couple given their child’s severe condition.

A three-member medical review board found the nurse practitioner not negligent, but two members changed their minds after seeing pictures of the couple’s child. The child is blind and disfigured from her condition.

Medical negligence and failure to diagnosis can cause irreversible damage to patients. A New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer can help you pursue a claim against negligent health care providers. Contact a New Orleans medical malpractice attorney for a free case review. As a registered nurse and an attorney, Shirin Harrell is uniquely qualified to represent victims of medical malpractice.