A Florida emergency room physician who ultimately prevailed in a Florida medical malpractice case filed against him by the surviving husband of a woman he treated in a hospital emergency room in 2007 who died 12 hours after being discharged from the ER is suing the plaintiff’s Florida medical malpractice lawyer for malicious prosecution.
The Florida ER doctor was sued for medical malpractice two years after he treated the woman in the ER for a chronically enlarged thyroid gland and early signs of pneumonia. The ER doctor ordered a respiratory treatment, prescribed medication for her pneumonia, and released her to home. An autopsy determined that her death shortly after arriving home was due to tracheal compression caused by her enlarged thyroid.
The Florida medical malpractice lawyer hired a medical expert to render an opinion and to testify in the Florida medical malpractice case whose qualifications the defendant ER physician challenged. In 2017, a Florida judge agreed with the defendant that the plaintiff’s medical expert was not qualified to render opinions in the medical malpractice case. An appellate court agreed with the trial court in 2018, and in early 2019, the plaintiff exhausted his appeals. That’s when the defendant emergency room physician filed his lawsuit against the plaintiff’s lawyer.
The ER physician took the unusual and risky path of declining the protection of his medical malpractice insurance coverage and proceeding to defend himself in the underlying Florida medical malpractice case. Instead of his medical malpractice insurance company paying for his defense lawyer and defense expenses, he paid them out of his own pocket. He claims in his malicious prosecution lawsuit that the stress of defending the medical malpractice claims against him harmed his relationship with his son and stressed his marriage, as well as causing an exacerbation of his pre-existing spinal condition. He claims to have lost 18,000 hours of his own time in defending himself as well as spending in excess of $1 million. He contended that the woman was responsible for her own death because she took the medication he prescribed along with other medication, causing her to pass out with her head in a position that pushed her thyroid into her trachea, leading to her suffocation death. He alleged that he was unable to prove his theory of the cause of the woman’s death and clear his name because the autopsy did not include toxicology tests and tissue samples were destroyed.
The ER physician’s lawsuit against the lawyer and the estate of the woman seeks $3 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. The Florida medical malpractice lawyer has reportedly not commented on the lawsuit filed against him except to say, “These allegations come from a guy whose death threat towards me was deemed so credible by his own lawyers that out of concern for my personal safety they immediately advised the presiding judge.”
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of emergency room negligence in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida or in your state who may investigate your emergency room medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a emergency room malpractice case, if appropriate.
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