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Note: Most of Missouri's statutory provisions regarding medical malpractice can be found in Chapter 538 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. For your convenience, the author of this LibGuide has compiled some of the most frequently used provisions from Chapter 538 and other Chapters here. However, this is not an exhaustive list and the summaries and evaluations provided should not be relied on as authoritative. All links are to the Missouri Revisor's website, and will not require a database subscription.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.205
This section provides definitions of terms used in Missouri's statutory provisions relating to medical malpractice.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.210
This provision relates to common law causes of action and caps on recoverable damages. Some of the high points include the elimination of any common law cause of action (538.210.1) and the limit on the damages recoverable in standard medical malpractice actions to $400,000 (538.210.2).
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.225
This provision outlines the requirement that each medical malpractice action filed be accompanied (or shortly followed) by a certification affidavit from a "legally qualified health care provider." Essentially, this provision is in place to limit the amount of frivolous medical malpractice suits that make it to court.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.228
This section provides immunity from civil liability in certain cases for physicians providing health care at free, non-profit clinics/organizations.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.105
This section lays out the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions, as well as three exceptions.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.035
This provision defines peer review committees, limits the discoverability of peer review documents, and provides possibly immunity for hospitals and administrations relying on recommendations of peer review committees.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 354.125
This section provides immunity from medical malpractice to "health services corporations."
Note: These cases have been chosen by this LibGuide author because they relate to current and important issues in Missouri medical malpractice. However, this is not a comprehensive list and the summaries should not be relied on as authoritative or a substitute for reading the source in full. All links are from Google Scholar, and will not require a database subscription.
Koon v. Walden
This case was recently decided (Oct. 24, 2017) by the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals. This case involved common law negligence rather than a statutory medical malpractice action, and the jury awarded $17 million in damages to the plaintiff. Since this action was common law negligence, the court did not apply the statutory caps on damages and thus upheld the $17 million verdict. This case is still developing, and will likely be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Mayes v. St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City
This Missouri Supreme Court case emphasized the importance of the health care provider affidavit requirement in § 538.225. The court held that the only proper remedy for failure to file a sufficient affidavit is dismissal, even if the statute of limitations bars refiling.
Ambers-Phillips v. SSM DePaul Health Center
In this case, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the statute of repose in § 516.105 bars filing of a medical malpractice action more than 10 years after the negligent act, even if the plaintiff had not yet discovered the harm.
Dodson v. Ferrara
The Missouri Supreme Court in this case held that the statutory cap on non-economic damages in § 538.210 did not violate the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.
Gridley v. Johnson
This case was one of the first in which Missouri recognized that hospitals could be held liable for the malpractice of the health care providers who work there.
Sides v. St. Anthony's Medical Center
This case recognized the ability of medical malpractice plaintiffs to proceed on a theory of res ipsa loquitor (i.e., "the thing speaks for itself"). The court also held that a plaintiff is entitled to a jury inference that the defendant was negligent once he or she has established res ipsa loquitor.
LeBlanc v. Research Belton Hospital
In this case, a Missouri appellate court reaffirmed the ability of plaintiffs to hold hospitals responsible for negligent credentialing of health care providers who commit medical malpractice.
HELPFUL SECONDARY SOURCES
Note: These secondary sources were selected by the author of this LibGuide to serve as starting points for learning about the issues presented in the statutes and cases listed on this page. They have been evaluated as relevant and helpful. However, these summaries and evaluations should not be considered authoritative or a substitute for reading the sources in full. All links are to freely-accessible sites, and will not require a database subscription.
Missouri Practice Series: Medical Malpractice
Note: You will need a Westlaw subscription to access this resource. However, this is an excellent source for researching the law on medical malpractice in Missouri. Not only does it cover topics such as evidence, limitations on actions, and damages, it also provides access to useful forms that can be used in practice. If you are searching for information that will easily translate into the "real world," start here.
Missouri’s Statutory Cause of Action for Medical Negligence: Legitimate Application of Legislative Authority or Violation of Constitutional Rights?
This law review article is one of the most helpful resources available when analyzing the main medical malpractice issue in Missouri currently: statutory elimination of common law causes of action and cap on non-economic damages. This is an excellent resource to orient yourself in the modern realm of Missouri medical malpractice law.
The Medical Malpractice Crisis: A Problem With No Answer?
Originally published in the Missouri Law Review, this article outlines the history of the medical malpractice crisis in Missouri, analyzes the concerns of doctors, insurance companies, and lawyers, and suggests changes to make the health care system less prone to mistakes.
Administrative Compensations for Medical Malpractice Injuries: Reconciling the Brave New World of Patient Safety and the Torts System
This article argues that using the torts system as a way to resolve medical malpractice claims is a "failure." Instead, the authors advocate for administrative remedies and integrated credentialing standards.
Doctor v. Attorney: Why Are Attorneys and Injured Patients Being Blamed for the Rising Costs of Healthcare? Instead of Tort Reform, Why Medical Reform Is a Better Solution
This UMKC Law Review article investigates the tension between health care providers and attorneys in the realm of medical malpractice. Specifically, the author argues that the focus on tort reform in Missouri has only fueled the fire without bringing about any meaningful change. Instead, the author argues that changes to the health care industry in Missouri should come first. This comment was cited in an amicus brief to the Missouri Supreme Court, and offers an interesting and informative perspective on medical malpractice in Missouri.
Medical Malpractice Damages Limits
This site outlines the current damages caps on medical malpractice actions in Missouri, as well as what the damages caps will be as they increase by the requisite 1.7% each year.