Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Attorney: Tort of outrage to get around Florida’s Limitations
A Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney knows Florida’s medical malpractice laws contain a certain level of circumspection. Michael and Patricia Lawley suffered a terrible loss four years ago when their 31-year-old daughter, Shannon Lawley, died at a Brevard County hospital. Shannon, a 31-year-old chemist, was forced to wait for more than 10 hours in the emergency room, even though she was very ill, because there were no intensive care unit beds free. By the time she was moved to the ICU, she had fallen into a diabetic coma and had to be placed on artificial life support. She died four weeks later. The hospital bill was nearly $370,000.
At the time, her parents wanted to file a medical malpractice suit but under the current law only spouses or children can sue. Thus, they could not seek retribution and accountability for what had happened to their daughter. However, consulting a Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney can potentially work in your favor.
Recently, Michael and Patricia Lawley, hope they have found a way around the law. They have filed suit under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, alleging the hospital’s “outrageous behavior.” Their claim- a claim for “tort of outrage” was filed in Brevard Circuit Court against Wuesthoff Hospital in Rockledge, its former parent corporation, Health Management Associates; HMA’s former president Gary Newsome, and several physician groups. According to the lawsuit, HMA pressured its hospitals to keep beds filled by imposing admission quotas on emergency physicians. In addition, the Lawleys’ allege that doctors admitted some patients who didn’t need it and failed to transfer patients to other hospitals even in conditions of overcrowding, which led to Shannon Lawley’s death.
“The conduct of HMA was intentional, reckless and outrageous,” the lawsuit said. “It was designed to place corporate profits ahead of patient care and wellbeing.”
HMA, which had 70 hospitals in 15 states, was the subject of an investigation by CBS’ “60 Minutes.” On the program, which aired in December 2012, several physicians said they had to meet quotas for admissions, regardless of medical necessity.
In 2014, Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tenn., bought HMA. Last year, 16 of the former HMA hospitals agreed to pay more the federal government than $15 million to settle accusations of overbilling Medicare.
Michael Lawley, a CPA, and his attorneys are scheduled to speak to reporters this afternoon in Melbourne, according to a news release. It says the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal investigation of HMA and its former top executives is continuing.
If you or a loved one suffered from any form of medical malpractice, allow a Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney to provide a free consultation. Contact an esteemed personal Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation: (800)366-1609; locally – (904)399-1609; or through our website edwardsragatz.com