Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Delay in timely treatment and/or diagnosis that results in patient harm can be legal grounds to pursue a Florida medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider. As our Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys can explain, building cases like these requires using expert witness testimony to establish that the defendant health care providers failed under the circumstances to abide the applicable standard of care for their medical specialty.Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Recently, a Florida jury awarded $2.6 million to the family of a man who died of a stroke – an occurrence the jury found was preventable had he been properly treated by the physicians and hospital.

As reported by Law.com, the 62-year-old decedent was seen by a vascular surgeon in the early summer of 2016. This was on the recommendation from his primary care doctor, who believed the patient’s carotid arteries (which supply blood to the brain, neck, and face) were “occluded,” or blocked. Upon examination, the surgeon diagnosed the patient with severe atherosclerosis. The man’s carotid arteries were 90 percent blocked. The surgeon recommended a procedure called an endarterectomy to remove the buildup. But it wasn’t necessary to act right away, the surgeon said, because the man had no symptoms. Instead, the procedure was scheduled for 18 days later. If the patient did become symptomatic, he was to go immediately to a hospital.

One week before the scheduled procedure, the patient became dizzy and weak. He rushed to a local hospital and was promptly admitted. The hospital contacted the office of the vascular surgeon, who was on vacation. Ultimately, they did obtain records of the scheduled surgery from the vascular surgeon’s office. Two other surgeons did not come to treat the patient immediately, but they did bump up the surgery to the following morning. However, the patient deteriorated overnight. He fatal stroke hours before the scheduled surgery.

The man’s widow, as representative of his estate, filed a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit against the first vascular surgeon, his practice, and the hospital. Continue reading

Since 1988, parents of children who suffered a specific type of Florida birth injury – profound brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation or spinal impairment – could file no-fault claims with the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA. Such conditions occur at birth, impact the child for life, and are frequently the result of medical malpractice.West Palm Beach birth injury lawyer

Obstetricians had lobbied the state for a program like this decades ago arguing high insurance premiums would push them out of the state. The program might have seemed a win-win – had parents not been forced to fight for coverage of every expense. While parents were prevented from suing doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers for injuries caused by their negligence during labor and delivery, they were promised adequate coverage for expenses that were both necessary medically and reasonable. That’s not what they received, many now say.

Earlier this year, The Miami Herald teamed up with ProPublica to analyze the issue, finding that NICA, despite amassing billions in assets from doctors’ annual fees, often left families begging for assistance. As our West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys have learned, those findings have since been affirmed by at least two state investigations (the auditor general and Office of Insurance Regulation). Soon thereafter, state lawmakers passed a reform bill unanimously, upping parental damage awards to $250,000 (more than double what it was) and child death benefits to $50,000 – five times what it used to be. These benefits are retroactive. Another $100,000 per family has been allocated for guaranteed transport and home modifications.

The law also pledged to make the best interests of the child Priority No. 1. Also for the first time, a parent advocate and an advocate for disabled children were added to NICA;s board. There’s also now an ombudsman who will work directly with parents. The previous executive director of the agency resigned, and a new interim ED has been assigned.

Parents say they are still hoping lawmakers will approve increased benefits for those who set aside their careers to remain at home and become caregivers for their severely disabled children. Continue reading

Many people considering a Florida medical malpractice claim envision dramatic courtroom scenes of emotional testimony under a relentless media spotlight. The reality is the vast majority of these claims never even make it to a trial.West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Medical malpractice claims that prevail beyond the early stages of summary judgment motions will most likely be settled during negotiations between your attorney and insurers for the doctors, hospital, or other health care providers involved. It is imperative that you are working with a dedicated West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney with extensive experience in insurer negotiations.

Here are some key things to know about South Florida medical malpractice settlement negotiations.

Florida Medical Malpractice Law

Medical malpractice claims in Florida are a unique type of personal injury case. State law requires attorneys to investigate these claims carefully before pursuing them. We must acquire expert witness testimony to assert the standard of care was breached by the health care professional, and we have to provide ample notice to the defendants of the claim.

Whereas most Florida personal injury cases have a four-year statute of limitations in which to file a claim, the time window for medical malpractice claims is just two years. Depending on whether there is a government defendant involved, notice requirements may be even shorter than that. There are very few exceptions, so it’s important to act quickly if you have the slightest inkling you may have a claim. Continue reading

Expert medical testimony is crucial in any Florida medical malpractice claim – for both sides. It’s required to even move past the early stages of a case (by presenting sufficient evidence the defendant breached the applicable standard of care for their profession and position). It’s also critical in helping jurors determine whether that standard was breached and if so, whether that breach caused the medical injury. Special medical knowledge is pivotal.Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Per F.S. 766.202, a medical expert is defined as a person who is duly and regularly engaged in the practice of his/her profession AND holds a health care professional degree AND who meets the requirements set forth in F.S. 766.102. That provision holds (among other things) that the expert witness in a medical malpractice case must be able to speak to the prevailing standard of care that a reasonably prudent health care provider in the same or similar situation would abide. In order to do that, they need to conduct a complete review of the pertinent medical records, but they also need to be someone who specializes in the same specialty as the health care provider defendant. (For example, a general practitioner wouldn’t likely be able to attest to the purported negligence of an anesthesiologist.)

As our Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys can explain, the fact that a plaintiff’s expert medical testimony is so important has increasingly made it a target for defense requests to exclude it. The standard for admissibility of expert witness testimony is called the Daubert standard, after the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. Florida previously used the less-rigorous Frye standard, but adopted the Daubert standard in 2019. Continue reading

Two recent Florida medical malpractice involving anesthesiologists have made national headlines, shining a spotlight on incidents involving these highly-trained medical professionals. anesthesiology error

Physician anesthesiologists are responsible to evaluate, monitor, and supervise patient care during and after surgery. They are tasked with delivery anesthesia, which is medication that helps with care, pain management and critical care medicine. There’s general anesthesia, where a patient is made to be completely unconscious. Then there’s regional anesthesia, where only part of someone’s body is anesthetized (such as in an epidural/spinal block). Lastly, there is local anesthesia, in which numbing medication is only applied to a small part of the body. Anesthesiology is not a field that leaves much room for error.

Anesthesia error can lead to serious, lifelong injuries or even deaths. Mistakes such as too much anesthesia, too little anesthesia, the wrong type of anesthesia, or failure to properly monitor a patient before, during, or after anesthesia is administered can be the basis for a South Florida medical malpractice claim that may hold the hospital, surgery center, anesthesiologist or other medical staffers accountable. Continue reading

When it comes to the dangers of medical devices or medications, the learned intermediary doctrine holds manufacturers responsible to describe the known risks to doctors, who in turn interpret those risks to patients. Patients then rely on the interpretations of their physicians to make informed medical choices. One effect of this, however, is that the manufacturer’s duty to warn of possible danger is to the physician who provides the medication, conducts the surgery or oversees treatment – not to the general public. drug and medical device litigation Florida

But what if the doctor in question is receiving some sort of financial benefit from the manufacturer for prescribing or using a particular drug or device?

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit weighed a request by plaintiffs to create a “financial bias exception” to the intermediary rule in a Florida product liability lawsuit stemming from a vaginal mesh injury. However, finding no such precedent or even discussion of it in previous decisions, the court declined to do so. Continue reading

Any car accident can be traumatic and stressful. But when you are pregnant, all of this is compounded two-fold. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that car accidents are a top cause of injury and death for pregnant women and a leading cause of traumatic fetal death. pregnant car accident Florida

As our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys can explain, crashes can present unique and scary complications for both mother and child. Knowing some of these unique risks and what should be done immediately after can help empower victims and increase your chances for fair compensation from negligent drivers.

See a Doctor – Even if You Feel Fine

First thing’s first: If you’re in a crash, get to the doctor right away, even if you aren’t transported to a hospital via ambulance. This is a critical precautionary measure for both you and your unborn child. Continue reading

West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyerThe statute of limitations on Florida medical malpractice claims is two years from the date of the incident/cause of action. However, it’s important to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney review your claim much sooner than that deadline if possible. There are several good reasons for this, not the least of which is because the (not-always-obvious) federal status of some defendants could mean there are additional considerations that will require more time to prepare the case. There could also be shorter administrative deadlines.

Ensuring your case is not only timely and properly filed but in the correct venue is critical. 

This was one of the matters at issue in the case of P.W. v. U.S., recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Continue reading

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers in Florida have a professional and legal responsibility to provide care to patients according to the prevailing standard for their education, experience and position. When they fail to do so resulting in patient harm, they can be held accountable with a Florida medical malpractice claim. Verdicts and settlements are typically paid out by insurers.West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

But in recent years, our West Palm Beach injury lawyers have noted a troubling trend of doctors and health care companies compelling patients to sign binding arbitration agreements before they receive care. Patients are given forms to sign away their constitutional right to have complaints of substandard care weighed in a court of law. If they decline, they are told to look for another provider.

It should be noted if you’re harmed as a result of substandard care, these agreements may not be enforceable, thanks to a 2016 Florida Supreme Court case. You should consult with an experienced medical malpractice law firm before deciding how to proceed. Continue reading

For every 1,000 children born in the U.S., 1.9 suffer some type of birth injury, also referred to as birth trauma. The good news is this rate has fallen from about 2.6 for every 1,000 births since 2004, as the use of instruments like forceps and vacuums have become less common.filing a birth injury lawsuit

But if your child is one of those who has suffered some type of birth trauma, it’s important to talk with an attorney about filing a birth injury lawsuit. A baby who sustains injuries at birth can suffer lifelong consequences to one’s physical, cognitive, psychological and social development. If the cause was medical negligence, the child and his/her caregivers will need additional treatment (therapies, surgeries, special education, etc.) and other support.

Birth injury lawsuits are a type of legal action taken against the doctors, nurses or other medical professionals who may have been responsible for the child’s injuries, which can include conditions like:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Brachial palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Bruising or forceps marks
  • Fractures
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Brain damage
  • Other nerve injuries
  • Wrongful death

Continue reading

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