Articles Tagged with medical malpractice lawyer

In a review of a federal district court’s handling of a Florida birth injury lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit wrote the lower court, “Did an admirable job of MacGyvering a solution in this case, and we affirm much of what it did.” The appellate court did reverse a small portion of the Florida medical malpractice birth injury decision, which had been appealed by both sides.Naples medical malpractice attorney

There were two primary statutes in play here:

  • The Federal Tort Claims Act, 28. U.S.C. 2674, requiring courts to (as the appellate court put it) “MacGyver a remedy fashioning tort-damages awards against the U.S. where the unique aspects of the federal government make it difficult or impossible to strictly apply a state damages statute to the government… (approximating) the statutory remedy as closely as they can to achieve the ends required by the FTCA.”
  • F.S. 768.78(2), Florida’s medical malpractice damage statute.

Essentially, the court cobbled together a remedy for civil damages in this birth injury lawsuit where the guidelines of both laws weren’t precisely aligned. Naples medical malpractice lawyers recognize this underscores the fact that having an attorney well-versed in federal and state law proves crucial time and again in these cases, particularly when the exact remedy isn’t obvious. It’s the injury lawyer who will be trusted by plaintiff to make a strong case for maximum monetary relief and accountability.  Continue reading

Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer in the U.S. the No. 1 most common type of cancer in women – regardless of race or ethnicity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports its the No. 1 cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the No. 2 cause of death from cancer among others. Here in Florida, nearly 16,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year.medical malpractice attorney

That means treatments like radiation, chemotherapy and surgery (namely, mastectomy and breast reconstruction) are among the most commonly-performed in the state. Of women diagnosed with early state breast cancer, more than one-third undergo mastectomies. Among women with more advanced stage breast cancer, nearly 60 percent undergo mastectomy, according to the American Cancer Society. Mastectomies increased 36 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, including a more than tripling of double mastectomies.

Fort Myers medical malpractice attorneys know there is a lot that can go wrong in any surgery, and it doesn’t necessarily mean negligence occurred. What we as medical malpractice attorneys must show is that the care received fell below the standard quality of care for that specialty and region. Product liability cases involving medical devices or implants must generally prove the product was defective and thus unreasonably dangerous, meaning there was a flaw in the design, manufacturing or marketing. (Marketing defects involve the manner in which the product was advertised or sold.) Every company within the chain of distribution can be held liable in a product liability case. Continue reading

The parents of a 25-year-old South Florida man who died after a seemingly routine IV line removal are suing for medical malpractice, alleging Palms West Hospital made a preventable medical error – and then tried to cover it up. That’s what’s been reported in the Broward-Palm Beach New Timesmedical malpractice

His mother told the newspaper that almost immediately after the line was pulled out, her son began clutching his chest, complaining he was unable to breathe. His oxygen levels fell dramatically and he began to convulse. The doctor who rushed in immediately asked the nurse if she’d just removed the central catheter. The man never regained consciousness after that, and died after his family agreed it was time to take him off life support.

The young man was in the hospital after relapsing into his addiction to opioids. Plaintiffs say the hospital tried to steer them away from staffers’ mistakes by telling them their son had died of “broken heart syndrome,” because of his guilt for relapsing. Of course, no such condition exists, and his family would later say this led them to suffer the pain of believing they were somehow responsible for not reassuring him of their steadfast support. They were not aware until the medical examiner listed his cause of death what had really happened: A burst of air entered his vein due to improper removal of a central line catheter. This was a preventable medical error, plaintiffs in this wrongful death action allege. Continue reading

When someone dies as the result of medical malpractice in Florida, state law unfortunately limits the types of damages that can be recovered – and by whom. Florida injury lawyers have long railed the restrictions on who may proceed with a medical malpractice claim in the event the patient dies – restrictions for which powerful medical industry lobbyists pushed hard.medical malpractice lawyer

The result is provisions of the Florida Wrongful Death Act that restrict plaintiffs in medical malpractice wrongful death cases to:

  • A child under the age of 25;
  • An adult child who is dependent on decedent for financial support;
  • A spouse;
  • A parent of a child under age 25.

Unless decedent has a surviving loved one who falls under these narrow parameters, there is legally no claim allowed under law. Further, if a decedent dies while a case is pending and doesn’t have a survivor in this category to step in as a plaintiff, the case will die with them and the negligent health care provider is never held to account. That is something that should bother everyone who potentially needs medical care in Florida because it means facilities and providers providing care that falls below baseline accepted medical standards may never have to answer for it, leaving them free to practice and profit without consequence. Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court has upheld this as a legitimate means of reducing medical insurance costs.  Continue reading

Walk into almost any hospital emergency room or intensive care unit – and what do you hear? There is the almost constant whoosh-and-honk of the ventilator. There might be an infusion pump, beeping in a high-pitch tone every six seconds or so. Blood pressure monitors will let out one single long tone after another. All these medical devices contribute to something we as medical malpractice attorneys recognize as “alarm fatigue.” medical malpractice

Although all of these monitors have their purpose, most of the time they don’t require any action. When medical professionals (nurses, in particular) grow accustomed to this constant din of noise – sometimes several hundred alarms daily – they can grow desensitized to it. Others, to avoid becoming overwhelmed, may turn the volume down. Some might simply ignore them. This could have serious and possibly deadly consequences to patients.

Patient safety advocates and medical malpractice attorneys have been raising concern about this issue for many years. However, it’s become an increasingly more pressing problem as technology evolves and the medical device community emerges with an increasing number of complex, loud machines – all intended to save lives, but contributing to this alarm fatigue issue.  Continue reading

Finding that an arbitration panel handling a medical malpractice lawsuit erred in the way it awarded loss of companionship and guidance damages to a husband and child in the death of a brand new mother, a Florida appeals court reversed a $4 million award of compensation.birth injury lawyer

The ruling is disappointing, but the family will still receive compensation and it’s important for medical malpractice lawyers and plaintiffs to understand exactly what went wrong. The primary issue was the fact that damage awards of this nature are considered non-economic damages. Although the Florida Supreme Court has ruled caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional in medical malpractice cases (both personal injury and wrongful death), F.S. 766.207 holds that non-economic damages recoverable in arbitration proceedings can be limited to $250,000 per incident (serving as yet another example of one of the many ways arbitration agreements can harm injured or wronged plaintiffs). Here, the loss of companionship award was initially categorized as economic damages, and thus not subjected to the arbitration clause limit. It’s also worth noting that the court did not take issue with a finding that a loss of consortium award, finding it warranted.

According to court records from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, this claim involves the death of a wife and mother due to events that took place during an emergency C-section in August 2014. The mother had lost so much oxygen to her brain while in the hospital that she slipped into a vegetative state, from which she died three months later.  Continue reading

Not every injury that occurs at the hands of a medical professional or inside a medical institution is considered medical malpractice. The Florida Supreme Court once again made this distinction in a recent case when asked to consider whether the trial court made the right decision in tossing a negligence lawsuit for failure to meet stringent medical malpractice lawsuit requirements, or whether the appeals court was right for reversing the lower court to allow the matter to proceed.medical malpractice attorney

Negligence versus medical malpractice is an important distinction because if a hospital or health care professional is successful in having the case designated as sounding in medical malpractice, plaintiffs must then abide by the state’s complex medical malpractice statutory schema, as outlined in F.S. 766.106. This includes specifications for pre-suit notice (including sending a copy of the complaint to the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration), to determine if conduct alleged subjects a licensee to disciplinary action. It also involves giving defendant 90 days in which to conduct a review of the allegations and either reject the claim, make a settlement offer or make an offer to arbitrate. (Settlement at this phase is rare.) Then plaintiff has 30 days from receipt of that response to give their own response. Then there is an informal discovery process, response to written questionnaires, collection of un-sworn statements by treating providers and more. Additionally, medical malpractice claimants must have an expert witness who is equally if not more qualified than the defendant to testify to a breach in the applicable standard of care. Finally, (save for some exceptions) medical malpractice claims have a two-year statute of limitations, whereas personal injury litigation has a four-year statute of limitations.

Negligence cases are much more simple. That’s why if a defendant can argue it’s medical malpractice, they will, because, as our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys know, it means more hurdles for you. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court recently sided plaintiffs in a dispute regarding witness testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a young child forced to undergo a kidney transplant due to alleged failure to diagnose a chronic illness by her primary care doctor.medical malpractice

In the case of Gutierrez v. Vargas, plaintiff reportedly suffered from a chronic kidney disease that went undiagnosed for six years, ultimately resulting in so much damage she had no choice but to undergo a kidney transplant. Defendant argues plaintiff suffered a different disease that could not have been diagnosed sooner. The case went to trial and plaintiff was awarded $4.1 million in damages.

Defendant appealed on the grounds the decision conflicts directly with those of other district courts on a question of law. Specifically, defense argued the lower court should not have allowed several of the girl’s treating physician to testify at trial about their diagnostic opinions or allowed rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. After the judgment was reversed and remanded for trial by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, the state high court ruled there was no abuse of discretion and affirmed the trial court’s conclusion. Continue reading

The ongoing scourge of medical malpractice in Florida is reason the state legislature and health care professionals established the Peer Review process, as outlined in F.S. 395.0193. It’s a means of identifying potential problem areas for individual physicians by having colleagues review their work, with the stated goal being improvement of patient care and reduction in medical and legal expenses. medical malpractice

However, one of the aspects of the peer review process, per section 8 of that statute, is that the investigations, proceedings and records of the peer review panel, a committee of a hospital board, disciplinary board, government board or agent of one of these “shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are the subject of evaluation and review…” In other words, if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Florida doctor, the records contained in these peer review files – even if relevant – can’t be compelled. However, records pertaining to these cases from independent sources aren’t immune from discovery just because they were presented in peer review proceedings.

It can be frustrating as a patient who suffered a missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis or other medical error to know there are records that could help your case that you can’t use. However, as a recent case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revealed, this immunity may not extend to each and all circumstances. Pennsylvania has a similar peer review process and statutory immunity to protect information gleaned in these proceedings. However, in Reginelli v. Boggs, the court held that the performance file developed by an independent contractor (one that provided staffing and administrative services for a hospital emergency room) were not protected under the state’s peer review statute. Continue reading

Most people assume the end of the road for a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit is the verdict. However, that is not the case as there is always the potential for appeal. The National Center for State Courts reports medical malpractice cases have an appeal rate of 18 percent. Those cases that tend to have the highest rate of appeal are those that involve serious injuries, complex medical and/ or scientific evidence and expert testimony. That’s why medical malpractice cases in Florida tend to have a higher rate of appeal than, say, a car accident injury verdict. What’s more, the center reported, defendants who lose medical malpractice cases are more likely to appeal than plaintiffs. medical malpractice lawyer

Most medical malpractice cases that are appealed involve:

  • Loss of mental function;
  • Facial scarring;
  • Loss of sight/ hearing;
  • Death;
  • Paralysis.

Because appeals can be so costly, it’s not unheard of for medical malpractice plaintiffs to end up back in negotiations with defendants – even after they have obtained a favorable verdict. The reason is if there is a good chance defendant will appeal (and may have a strong argument on appeal), plaintiff may agree to a settlement – ending the case then and there, albeit for a lesser amount – than go through the time, expense and ordeal of an appeal. It’s also possible that if a trial is bifurcated (split into separate issues, usually liability and damages) that a defendant will settle after liability has been determined, but prior to a finding of damages. Continue reading