Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Case, Finding It Stemmed from Medical Malpractice Rather Than Ordinary Negligence.

Late last month, a Florida appellate court issued an opinion in a consolidated medical malpractice case against a behavioral health agency and hospital. The case involved the question of whether the plaintiff’s claim was based in medical malpractice. If so, the plaintiffs did not comply with the procedural requirements, so the case would be dismissed. However, if the court determined that the claim was one of ordinary negligence, the additional requirements of a Florida medical malpractice case would not apply.

According to the court’s opinion, a woman was transferred from a hospital to a residential treatment facility (RTF), operated by a behavioral health agency. The plaintiffs allege that, before the transfer, the hospital was providing the woman with seven medications. Upon transfer, the hospital provided the facility with prescriptions for the medicines, but failed to provide the medication. The RTF did not provide the woman with her medications, resulting in her death from “severe withdrawal syndrome.” The plaintiff, the estate of the deceased woman, alleged that the agencies were negligent because they knew or should have known that sudden withdrawal from these medications would likely cause a life-threatening danger to the woman.

In response, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint because the plaintiff failed to comply with Florida’s medical malpractice pre-suit requirements. The plaintiffs argued that their claims arose from ordinary negligence and not medical malpractice, and therefore they did not need to abide by the medical malpractice notice requirements. The trial judge agreed, and dismissed the defendants’ argument, leading them to petition the court for certiorari review.

In Florida, courts may engage in certiorari review to determine whether parties complied with medical malpractice pre-suit requirements. Medical malpractice claims arise from a party’s failure to render appropriate medical care or services. These claims must be related directly to care or services that require professional judgment or skills, and require a plaintiff to establish, through an expert witness, that the negligent act breached a professional standard.

Florida medical malpractice lawsuits typically stem from injuries related to a medical professional or entity’s failure to diagnose, misdiagnose, prescription errors, surgical errors, and childbirth complications. Injury victims in these cases should contact an attorney to ensure that they abide by all filing and notice requirements. The failure to comply may result in significant delays and possible case dismissal.

In this case, the court found that plaintiff’s claims arose from medical negligence. The court found that the allegations related to the agencies’ failure to provide appropriate medical services. They reasoned that the case is sound in medical malpractice, rather than ordinary negligence because, to succeed, the plaintiff must establish that the agencies breached their professional standards in their failure to ensure that the woman received her medications. As such, they quashed the lower court’s orders and granted the defendants’ motion.

Have You Been Injured Because of a Medical Provider’s Negligence?

If you or someone you love experienced serious injuries or died due to a medical professional’s negligence, you should contact the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Friedman, Rodman Frank & Estrada, Attorneys at Law. Our attorneys handle a broad spectrum of medical malpractice cases, including those arising from misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and birth injuries. Our firm’s lawyers are up-to-date on current Florida medical malpractice laws and ensure that we abide by all relevant procedural and statutory requirements. We understand the significant and life-altering impact of these cases and have recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm.

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