Supreme Court Rules Against Florida Doctor
A Florida Supreme Court judge has overturned a lower court ruling regarding doctor liability in medical malpractice cases.
In 2003, a Florida man made an appointment with his doctor complaining of back pain. Dr. Willis Dickens diagnosed the patient with lumbar stenosis. The man then consulted a surgeon, Dr. Guillermo Pasarin, who operated on his lumbar spine.
Two months later, the man’s condition had not improved. Dr. Pasarin determined that the spinal surgery was unsuccessful, and recommended cervical decompression surgery instead. Despite the urgency of his condition, the doctor failed to schedule him for surgery within the next month.
The patient later developed a deep venous thrombosis, which further prevented him from undergoing surgery. Tragically, the plaintiff never received the surgery he needed and ultimately became a quadriplegic.
The plaintiff filed lawsuits against Dr. Dickens, Dr. Pasarin and his surgical group. All defendants settled except for Dr. Dickens.
During the trial, Dr. Dickens blamed Dr. Pasarin for his patient’s injuries. He used statements from settlement hearings to prove that the surgeon “would not have done anything differently” to treat the man, and claimed that Dr. Pasarin was the one who violated the patient’s “duty of care.”
A judge for the Fourth District Court of Appeal initially absolved Dr. Dickens of liability in the case, but Florida’s Supreme Court tossed out the ruling in July. In a 5-2 decision, the judges upheld the belief that in a malpractice case, every doctor’s behavior should be assessed independently.
Can Multiple Doctors Be Responsible for My Injury?
“It is not only the final physician, but rather each treating physician who must act in a reasonably prudent manner,” one judge stated. In other words, one doctor’s negligence does not absolve all others of liability.
Small details can make medical malpractice cases extremely difficult to litigate. For their best chance of winning, victims need an experienced malpractice attorney who is willing to put their needs first.
If medical malpractice caused your illness or injury, schedule a free consultation with Shapiro Law Group. Our attorneys would love to hear your story.
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