State Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Misdiagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis Lawsuit

A Mississippi State Appellate Court has reversed a dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed the defendant physician, Dr. Terry Millette, misdiagnosed Debra Green as having multiple sclerosis (MS). As the lawsuit was filed after the applicable state’s one-year limitation, the defendant moved to dismiss, which was granted by the trial court.

Green, a patient of physician Dr. Terry Millette, developed memory problems and an unsteady gait. She began to suffer frequent falls. Green underwent an MRI, which led Dr. Millette to diagnose multiple sclerosis. One year later, in November 2016, after she had been taking medication for MS, Singing River Hospital sent her a letter stating that questions had been raised about Dr. Millette’s medical practices. The letter urged her to obtain a re-evaluation of her diagnosis and treatment plan.

Early in the following year, 2017, Green was evaluated by a new doctor. The doctor told her in May 2017 that she did not have MS. Green sent Singing River Health System a pre-suit notice of claim in January 2018 and filed a medical malpractice suit in May 2018.

Singing River moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that the cause of action brought by Green was time-barred under the applicable one-year limitations statute. The trial court granted that motion.

In reversing and remanding the case for further disposition, the state’s appellate court noted that the one-year limitations statute was subject to the discovery rule, which tolls the limitations period in certain situations.

Citing case law, the appeals panel found that in applying the discovery rule, a court must determine when the claimant discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered the existence of an actionable injury.

The appeals panel found that the defendant’s November 2016 patient letter was generic and included no specifics about Green’s possible diagnosis. Moreover, the appellate court said the defendant’s press release regarding Dr. Millette did not provide any additional information to Green who, in light of her symptoms and a previous opinion of two nurse practitioners, had no reason to believe she did not have MS until May 2017.

Accordingly, the appeals court found that the plaintiff’s lawsuit filed in May 2018 was timely filed and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

The attorneys representing Debra Green were Walter C. Morrison IV and Tim C. Holleman.

Green v. Singing River Health System, 2019 WL 5704012 (Miss. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis lawsuits, medical malpractice cases, nursing home negligence lawsuits and birth injury cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Alsip, Blue Island, South Holland, Palos Heights, Oak Forest, Hazel Crest, Markham, Flossmoor, Matteson, Richton Park, Chicago Heights, Crete, University Park, Beecher, Monee, Country Club Hills, Dolton, Western Springs, LaGrange, Downers Grove, Westchester, Lake Zurich, Chicago (Austin, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, East Garfield Park, West Town, McKinley Park, Douglas, Bridgeport, Chinatown, Wrigleyville, Hyde Park, Calumet Heights, Washington Heights, Beverly, Roseland, Mount Greenwood, Hegewisch, Little Italy, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown, Near North Side, River North, Lakeview, Roscoe Village, Irving Park East), Harwood Heights, Clarendon Hills, Waukegan, Zion, Joliet and Bolingbrook, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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