For some reason, politicians in Florida want to stick it to
medical malpractice patients. They want to pass a bill limiting doctor liability.
If you have ever been the victim of medical malpractice, you will know
how passionate you have become about making sure the medical professionals
who harmed you are held responsible. It becomes a quest for many patients
that have been victims of medical malpractice, and they hope what happened
to them will never happen to someone else.
If the Florida Legislature gets its way, holding doctors accountable for
medical malpractice will become a virtual impossibility. This is not good
news for any state, not just Florida, for what passes there, may well
be passed in other jurisdictions like Ohio. As a Cleveland medical malpractice
lawyer, this type of Draconian legislation makes the blood run cold.
The Florida Bill is supposed to reduce the medical malpractice liability
of medical professionals in that state. It is deeply disturbing for many
reasons. It acts as a shield for doctors from liability for harming a
patient. For example, if a physician is negligent in not ordering necessary
tests, the result could seriously harm or kill a patient. If there is
a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, a patient may not survive. This bill
states the patient needs to show clear and convincing evidence that the
doctor was negligent in not performing other tests.
Most patients are not doctors. Putting them in the position of having to
clearly prove the doctor was negligent is like handing a stick of dynamite
to a toddler and telling them not to play with the matches sitting on
the table in plain sight. No one in their right mind would risk a child’s
life like that, but the state of Florida is willing to risk an innocent
patient’s life to continue to let a negligent doctor practice. What
is wrong with that picture?
Patients went to the doctor because they trusted them, needed care and
expected, because of the doctor’s higher standard of training, that
they would be helped. If they are seriously harmed or killed by the very
person they trusted, they would be hung out to dry by this proposed bill.
Patients just do not, and in most cases never will, have enough evidence
to satisfy such a high legal burden.
If this bill passes, they will not be able to receive the compensation
they would deserve if they were harmed by their medical doctor. That means
patients may face catastrophic injuries, at the hands of a doctor, that
they have to pay for, for the rest of their lives. How is this fair?
A serious warning note is being sounded by another provision in this same
bill; the drive to discourage doctors from ordering tests that would pinpoint
grave illnesses before they got to the point of no return. If doctors
are being encouraged to not order tests that could prevent a needless
death, more people will die for no good reason. It makes you wonder what
legislators regard as good medical care and if they needed tests, would
they expect them? Likely they would, but they don’t want you to
If it isn’t bad enough that the bill wants to rip away patient’s
protection against medical malpractice, it also invades their privacy.
It proposes letting a doctor’s lawyer interview the patient’s
other doctors without the patient or the patient’s lawyer being
there at the same time. This is a clear violation of patient rights. It
gives defense unfettered access to health information that is not relevant
to a lawsuit, and provides defense attorneys with an unfair advantage.
It is the patient, harmed by the doctor that is to be protected, not the
doctor who negligently committed medical malpractice. Attacking tort victims
as if they were the enemy makes no sense. Hopefully Florida comes to its
senses before passing something that will set patient’s rights and
protections back to the Dark Ages.