THE DEBATE OVER MALPRACTICE Revenge ... or Justice? Medical Lawsuits at Issue

By Stobbe, Mike | The Florida Times Union, March 13, 1997 | Go to article overview

THE DEBATE OVER MALPRACTICE Revenge ... or Justice? Medical Lawsuits at Issue


Stobbe, Mike, The Florida Times Union


Albert Yancey was with his girlfriend that night, when she was

admitted to University Medical Center, nine months pregnant with

their son.

Yancey watched as a nurse put medicine in Cynthia Johnson's IV.

Then he saw her complain of a headache and vomit blood.

Yancey said he promised Johnson everything would be all right

as they wheeled her to the delivery room.

That night, Johnson gave birth to a son, Cynsean.

But she died a few hours later, early on the morning of Nov. 2,

1994.

Yancey said he couldn't find out exactly how she died. He asked

three or four members of the medical staff -- he can't remember

exactly how many or who -- but no one would tell him what went

wrong, he said.

But he suspected somebody screwed up and killed her. He wanted

retribution and justice, he said, and could think of only one

way to get either.

He got a lawyer.

"It's not about the money," Yancey said, referring to his

pending lawsuit, which is to come to trial in July.

"If I can just hurt somebody."

MALPRACTICE DEBATE

Yancey's reaction is a common one.

Each year thousands of people call Jacksonville attorneys,

saying they or a loved one have been victims of medical

malpractice.

The number and scope of medical malpractice lawsuits is the

center of an enduring debate in Florida.

It's a debate that hit a crescendo in 1988, when doctors were

screaming about the soaring cost of medical malpractice

insurance, and the Florida Legislature responded by limiting

how much money victims can win from a lawsuit.

And it's a debate continuing now, in the Legislature's current

session.

Among the bills being haggled by legislators are proposals by

the state's trial lawyers to make it easier to file medical

malpractice suits, and moves by health care providers to make it

harder.

To people close to the issue, nothing is more important.

Rod Brown of Orange Park said he tried, and failed, to get

attorneys to handle his claim that his mother died in 1995

because of medical malpractice.

Brown, 42, makes daily calls to members of the Duval County

Legislative Delegation, demanding a change in medical

malpractice laws.

"It's not hard to sue a doctor," he said. "It's impossible."

PLAINTIFFS' ARGUMENT

People who sue health care providers face obstacles that do not

apply to people who sue auto makers, restaurant workers, tobacco

producers or others.

The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice

suit is two years. Four years are allowed for other torts.

Medical malpractice lawsuits cannot be filed until a doctor or

other medical expert has reviewed the case and concluded

negligence occurred.

Doctors affiliated with state medical schools, which include

University Medical Center and Gainesville's Shands Hospital, are

granted immunity from lawsuits. Victims must sue the state

instead.

But the state law cited most often by attorneys as unfair

covers non-economic damages.

Victims can receive three types of damages: economic, for loss

of income and medical expenses; non-economic, for pain and

suffering and other intangibles; and punitive, rarely awarded

damages that punish a defendant for malicious action or wanton

disregard.

State law doesn't limit economic damages in medical malpractice

cases. But it puts a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages if a

plaintiff insists on a jury trial and refuses to send the case

to arbitration. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

THE DEBATE OVER MALPRACTICE Revenge ... or Justice? Medical Lawsuits at Issue
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.