Thursday, October 29, 2009

"We now explicitly hold that nurses cannot testify as to medical causation."

Well, finally. The Mississippi Supreme Court at last spells out what had been generally regarded as the law, but never put quite so clearly.
While Richardson explicitly held that a nurse cannot testify as to cause of death, we agree with Baptist that Richardson should be interpreted as having made impermissible any testimony from a nursing expert on diagnostic impressions, because nurses are not qualified to make medical diagnoses or attest to the causes of illnesses. Richardson, 807 So. 2d at 1247-48. We now explicitly hold that nurses cannot testify as to medical causation.

Since medical diagnosis is outside a nurse’s scope of practice, logically it would follow that a nurse should not be permitted to testify as to his/her diagnostic impressions or as to the cause of a particular infectious disease or illness. This is in keeping with the majority rule that nursing experts cannot opine as to medical causation and are unable to establish the necessary element of proximate cause.
A very helpful case to healthcare defendants around the state.

... Also of interest: in eight death-penalty cases, the Court sua sponte has demanded that slow-moving courts and counsel get the ball moving, along the lines of "On the Court's own motion, the Circuit Court of Oktibbeha County shall file a response within sixty days of entry of this order addressing why this matter remains pending." It's unusual and welcome for the Court to show an interest in such things -- let's hope this is the start of a trend.

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