Court returns teen’s medical lawsuit to Clay County

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

WEST POINT – Alicia Stringer will get another chance to sue doctors who failed to promptly diagnose her appendicitis in 2005, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed last week.
Four years ago, Stringer was 13 and treated for nausea, abdominal pains and other symptoms, then she was sent home. When the symptoms continued, she was seen again and admitted to the hospital.
Ultimately, a radiologist said she had multiple “cystic masses,” then the next day said they might be “absesses” and that she could be suffering from appendicitis. Two days later, after a second opinion, she had an emergency appendectomy and was hospitalized more than a week.
Her family sued the first doctors, then more than a year later added the radiologist. He claimed the statute of limitations had passed, and a Clay County trial court agreed.
She appealed to the Supreme Court, and Thursday in a 9-0 decision written by Justice Jim Kitchens, the court reversed the case and sent it back to Circuit Judge Lee J. Howard for a new trial.
Kitchens said at issue, with the statute of limitations, was “what the plaintiff knew and when.” These questions remain answered, he wrote.
In a second case, the court affirmed an Alcorn County personal-injury decision by Judge James Lamar Roberts Jr. to dismiss Carla Stutts’ complaint against Jaci Miller because legal process did not occur until after the legally required time.
That decision was closer, split 4-3, with a dissent written by Kitchens, who said Stutts tried numerous times to find Miller to serve with papers, but the trial court failed to recognize her “good cause.”

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.