A Florida news organization reports that it found “[h]undreds of Florida doctors have paid out multiple malpractice claims – putting patients at risk 15 years after voters passed a law that was supposed to take away their licenses … Florida doctors paid out more than $460 million for malpractice claims involving nearly 1,400 patient deaths over the past decade.”
Florida’s Three Strikes Law: Florida Statutes 456.50 “Repeated medical malpractice”
456.50 states, in part: “(h) “Repeated medical malpractice” means three or more incidents of medical malpractice found to have been committed by a medical doctor. Only an incident occurring on or after November 2, 2004, shall be considered an incident for purposes of finding repeated medical malpractice under this section.”
Section (2) states: “For purposes of implementing s. 26, Art. X of the State Constitution, the board shall not license or continue to license a medical doctor found to have committed repeated medical malpractice, the finding of which was based upon clear and convincing evidence. In order to rely on an incident of medical malpractice to determine whether a license must be denied or revoked under this section, if the facts supporting the finding of the incident of medical malpractice were determined on a standard less stringent than clear and convincing evidence, the board shall review the record of the case and determine whether the finding would be supported under a standard of clear and convincing evidence. Section 456.073 applies. The board may verify on a biennial basis an out-of-state licensee’s medical malpractice history using federal, state, or other databases. The board may require licensees and applicants for licensure to provide a copy of the record of the trial of any medical malpractice judgment, which may be required to be in an electronic format, involving an incident that occurred on or after November 2, 2004. For purposes of implementing s. 26, Art. X of the State Constitution, the 90-day requirement for granting or denying a complete allopathic or osteopathic licensure application in s. 120.60(1) is extended to 180 days.”
The investigators’ review of Florida insurance records found a Lake Wales internal medicine doctor still practicing after two medical malpractice wrongful death claims; a Fort Myers cardiologist who is still practicing after settling three medical malpractice claims – including two patient wrongful death claims – for a combined $1.4 million; a West Palm Beach back surgeon who is still practicing who paid out a total of $1.6 million in seven medical malpractice lawsuits, including two patient wrongful deaths claims; and, a St. Petersburg doctor who is still practicing who paid out 16 medical malpractice claims since 2000 – including six cases involving patient deaths (his medical malpractice insurance reportedly paid out a total of $2.6 million in those cases). The St. Petersburg doctor reportedly has been disciplined only once by the Florida Board of Medicine: in 2007, for providing substandard treatment.
The investigators found that many Florida doctors have avoided the consequences of the three strikes law: “the majority of doctors sued for malpractice are settling the case before a court verdict — a step to avoid a strike against their medical license.” The Florida medical malpractice three strikes law states, in part: “The board may require licensees and applicants for licensure to provide a copy of the record of the trial of any medical malpractice judgment, which may be required to be in an electronic format…” (emphasis added).
The investigators found “at least 120 Florida doctors who racked up three or more malpractice claims over the past decade and state records show only two doctors have had their licenses revoked under the three strikes rule.”
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical negligence in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Florida medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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