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Florida Court Reverses Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case Involving a Serious Birth Injury

Florida medical malpractice claims require extensive work and resources. In a recent medical malpractice case before a federal appeals court, the court had to consider whether a $7 million dollar verdict could stand against a doctor after a baby suffered permanent brain damage after her birth.

Evidently, the baby was born with severe respiratory issues and developed permanent brain damage. The baby was born at a hospital that did not have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and did not have all of the equipment found in a NICU. Babies that needed specialized care were often transported to a nearby hospital with a NICU. This baby showed signs of respiratory distress immediately after she was born. She was provided with supplemental oxygen, and the doctor left for a few hours. The baby was not improving, and the doctor first decided to transfer the baby to the nearby NICU. However, a new neonatologist specialist at the hospital said that a transfer was not necessary, and agreed to take the baby on as a patient.

The baby’s condition continued to deteriorate, and she was eventually transferred the next day to the NICU, and stayed for almost a month. The baby’s mother filed a lawsuit alleging that the first doctor and others were at fault for the baby’s permanent brain damage. The mother claimed that the doctor should have transferred the baby from the hospital where she was born to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit that could have provided the baby with the care she needed. The other defendants settled the suit with the mother, but the case against the doctor went to trial, and the court awarded the mother over $7 million in damages.

On appeal, the defendant argued that the court’s decision was not supported by the evidence. The appeals court agreed and found the court’s decision was wrong. The court noted that the plaintiff’s expert testified that the baby should have been transferred to another hospital. However, on cross-examination, the doctor stated that the applicable standard of care required the baby to be transferred several hours after the baby was transferred to the care of the specialist. The court explained that a doctor is not required to provide a patient with the highest degree of care possible, nor to choose the best method of treatment. Because the plaintiff’s expert stated that the baby was not required to be transferred until several hours later under the care of another doctor, the doctor could not have committed malpractice. Therefore, it reversed the decision and vacated the judgment against the doctor.

Florida Medical Malpractice Claims

Under Florida law, a medical malpractice claim is defined as a claim “arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.” In a Florida medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must show that the health care provider breached the applicable professional standard of care, or the “level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”

Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim, talk to an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Filing a successful medical malpractice claim requires extensive work and resources from an experienced attorney. The experienced Miami medical malpractice attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for medical negligence victims. To speak with an attorney, call us at 877-448-8585 or contact us online to set up a free and confidential consultation.

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