On May 17, 2013, after a month-long trial before a medical malpractice jury in Broward County, Florida, the plaintiffs were awarded $38 million and the two medical malpractice defendant doctors were assessed “strikes.” The “strikes” were assessed by the medical malpractice jury pursuant to the 2004 Florida Amendment 8, known as the “Three Strikes” Amendment, which subjects Florida doctors to loss of their medical licenses if they are found guilty of three or more incidents of medical malpractice. Legislation enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2005 requires that a medical malpractice jury’s verdict must be proved by “clear and convincing” evidence in order for the medical malpractice defendant to be assessed a strike. It appears that this jury verdict was the first of its kind to assess “strikes” under the Three Strikes Amendment in Florida.
The Underlying Facts
The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that a 33-year-old man was left with permanent brain injuries after he failed to wake up from anesthesia following a procedure on December 4, 2008. The procedure was a Manipulation Under Anesthesia (“MUA”) that the two local defendant doctors performed at a local surgical center in Pompano Beach, Florida (one performed the procedure and the other was the anesthesiologist for the procedure). It was reported that the doctor who had performed the MUA finally admitted at trial that the procedure should have not been performed on the man. The anesthesiologist had his medical license suspended as a result of the incident.
Other medical malpractice defendants had entered into confidential settlement agreements with the family of the man before the trial. The trial may be over but the man’s family and nurses must continue to provide care to the man, who now resides in Georgia.
The family’s medical malpractice lawyer called the jury’s verdict “a victory for patient safety” and stated after the jury’s verdict, “We intend to collect all of the doctor’s insurance money, present the jury’s findings to the board of medicine, and then go after these doctors personally to collect the balance of the verdict.”
The Florida “Three Strikes” Amendment states as follows:
Article X (“Miscellaneous”)
SECTION 26. Prohibition of medical license after repeated medical malpractice.—
If you or a family member were injured as a result of medical malpractice in Florida or in another U.S. state, your should seek the advice of a Florida medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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