Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Florida medical negligenceThe notion of the “ideal” body shape is ever-changing, and in Florida, plastic surgeons are in high demand. However, it appears the lure of steep profit margins has led some physicians who are not uniquely qualified, experienced or careful to offer complex medical procedures at rock-bottom prices – often with tragic results. A recent series of botched cosmetic surgeries in South Florida has led to a spate of medical negligence lawsuits, a change in Florida law (effective 1/1/20) and a pending Florida Supreme Court ruling.

Our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys know the one procedure sparking the greatest concern of late is the “Brazilian butt lift,” or BBL. The procedure, which aims to enhance one’s rear with a transfer of fat to the gluteal region from the abdomen, lower back, thighs and/or hips, requires precise and careful application. The greatest risk is the possibility of a heart or pulmonary fat embolism. This happens when the fat is accidentally injected deep into the muscle tissue, making its way into the bloodstream and causing obstruction of major blood vessels of the heart or lungs. Another potential danger is that of punctured internal organs. Both have proven life-threatening and/or fatal.

NBC-6 reports more than a dozen women have died in South Florida in recent years during or shortly after having a BBL. Several of their families have filed medical negligence /wrongful death lawsuits. They assert that the deaths and injuries that occurred were not the result of unavoidable complications, but rather serious mistakes by the medical professionals involved.

Factors that led to a higher risk of complications in BBL procedures included:

  • Performance of the procedure by an unlicensed practitioner;
  • Using injectables and fillers instead of fat;
  • Unsterile instruments/operating area;
  • Intramuscular injection of fat.
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Fort Myers medical malpractice wrongful deathA state appellate court in Lee County urged the Florida Supreme Court to revisit the question of whether a largely debunked “insurance crisis” still justifies limiting – or altogether prohibiting – damages to survivors in some medical malpractice wrongful death cases.

As our Fort Myers medical malpractice attorneys can explain, state law currently bars adult children from recovering any non-economic damages in wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuits. The effect of this is that a negligent doctor or hospital may be held liable to pay non-economic damages for a patient who lives, has minor children and/or a surviving spouse, but not if that same patient dies with only adult children as survivors. This raises equal protection of constitutional concerns.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal has asked the state high court to reconsider this, calling it “a matter of great importance,” after ruling it had no choice but to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the surviving adult children of a woman who allegedly died as a result of medical malpractice. Continue reading

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2012 could be historic for injured patients if the Florida Supreme Court follows the lead of Georgia, Illinois, and other states who have declared caps on damages in medical malpractice cases to be unconstitutional. The courts have reasoned that limitations on damages violate an individual’s access to the courts, treat the medical profession different from all others, and often force the state taxpayers to absorb the cost of future care.

Medical malpractice law has always been a hot topic, especially in Florida, where extensive lobbying by hospitals, doctors, and the insurance industry has led to major changes affecting the rights of injured victims. While medical professionals have argued that malpractice lawsuits have caused billions of dollars to be wasted on unneeded medical tests; yet privately, they admit that these same tests would be ordered if the patient was their family member.

As Florida medical malpractice attorneys we have been closely monitoring the debate over medical malpractice caps, which is set to come before the Florida Supreme Court next year.

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The United States House of Representatives yesterday (10/7/09) took action that will hopefully lead to the end of discriminatory treatment of soldiers injured by medical malpractice.

Since the Feres decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1950, soldiers have not been able to bring actions for medical malpractice against the government; this is true irrespective of the level of disregard for their well being. Since the 1950’s untold numbers of soldiers after serving acting duty have been subjected to substandard treatment in military medical facilities. The House Judiciary Committee has now approved the Military Medical Accountability Act which would allow soldiers the same rights as  private citizens injured by medical malpractice.

The bill named after Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, who served his country with honor for nearly a decade, including a tour of duty in Iraq, and died as a result of preventable medical negligence. A blotch on his buttock went untreated and misdiagnosed multiple times by military doctors.  By the time Sgt. Rodriguez learned it was a cancerous melanoma the damage was done. Sgt. Rodriguez, the father of a 7 year old son passed away shortly after a proper diagnosis.

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Back in June of 2007 attorney Jeff Garvin of Fort Myers and Wilton Strickland of Fort Lauderdale successfully argued that medical malpractice was committed when a Broward County otolaryngologist (ENT) failed to diagnose tongue cancer.

A Broward County Jury awarded the Garvin Law Firm client $6.4 Million Dollars after hearing two weeks of testimony. Garvin argued that the Pembroke Pines Doctor was negligent when he failed to notice several recognizable symptoms of tongue cancer. This argument was strengthened when evidence was presented that the client sought a second opinion and this doctor noticed cancer almost immediately. Unfortunately for the client, the cancer had already spread and required extensive surgery to remove the growth.

After this surgery, which required the removal of most of his tongue, the client was left with a difficulty speaking, can’t swallow, and is forced to eat blended food through a tube in his stomach.

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