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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Miami lawmakers push claims bill for teenage boy



Aaron Edwards, a bright-eyed, 14-year-old boy, spent Valentine's Day in the Florida Capitol, urging lawmakers to hear his claims bill.

Five years ago, a jury in Lee County awarded Aaron's family $30 million in a lawsuit against Lee Memorial Hospital, where Aaron suffered a severe brain injury during his birth. But the Legislature must pass a claims bill for the family to receive the money.

Aaron -- a straight-A student who has limited use of his arms, legs and mouth -- and his mother made their case on Tuesday.

When asked what the claims bill would mean to the family, Aaron offered a one-word response: "Everything."

His mother, Mitzi Roden, elaborated.

"This would allow him to have 24-7 care," Roden said. "It would keep him out of an institution. It would give us money for doctors and specialists. We'd be able to buy the equipment that he so badly needs."

Two Miami lawmakers are sponsoring Aaron's claims bill: Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.

In order for the bill to move forward this year, it must be heard in a House committee this week.

Diaz is hoping it gets put on an agenda soon.

"This bill is going to help Aaron have the resources he needs to live as normal a life as possible," he said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 7:06pm]


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