Sunday, August 19, 2018
News Roundup

Florida caps in malpractice cases ruled unconstitutional

TALLAHASSEE — Caps on how much money patients injured by a doctor's mistakes can receive were declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, a decision that strikes down one of former Gov. Jeb Bush's major policy victories.

The court ruled that the caps placed into law in 2003 were arbitrary and there's no proof that they reduced malpractice insurance rates that lawmakers were attempting to contain. Even if they have, there's no present crisis to justify the caps. In a 4-3 decision, justices also said the caps unfairly hurt those most severely injured by doctors' mistakes.

"The caps on noneconomic damages … arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries," the court said.

The law limited non-economic damages, which includes pain and suffering, against doctors in malpractice cases to $500,000, or $1 million if the injuries were catastrophic. The issue was so important to Bush that he called lawmakers back to the Capitol for three special legislative sessions to get a bill passed.

The case the court ruled on involves a woman who was severely injured while doctors performed wrist surgery to alleviate her carpal tunnel syndrome at a Broward County hospital. An anesthesia tube punctured Susan Kalitan's esophagus during the surgery. She awoke and complained of severe back and chest pain. Doctors were unaware of the injury and gave her pain medication and sent her home, according to court documents.

A neighbor checking on Kalitan the next day found her unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed life-saving surgery. She remained in a drug-induced coma for several weeks and later had additional surgeries and intensive therapy to be able to eat again, according to court documents. She continues to endure pain and mental trauma.

A jury awarded her $2 million for past pain and suffering and $2 million for future pain and suffering. A lower court judge determined that Kalitan's injuries were catastrophic, but the non-economic award was reduced by about $3.3 million because of the medical malpractice caps and separate law that limited the government-run hospital's liability to $100,000.

"She suffered mentally and will for the rest of her life," said Nichole Segal, a lawyer representing Kalitan. "She has issues raising her arms and going through the motions of daily life."

Segal said the ruling not only helps a deserving client, but will change future malpractice cases from the moment they're filed. She said many plaintiffs were settling for less than they deserved because of the caps and some law firms weren't taking up cases because they can be very expensive to litigate and the limits made them less profitable.

"This will affect every single person who brings a medical negligence case," she said.

The Florida Medical Association, which supports caps, didn't immediately comment.

Comments
Police: Driver, 26, goes wrong way on Courtney Campbell, dies after car flips into water

Police: Driver, 26, goes wrong way on Courtney Campbell, dies after car flips into water

CLEARWATER — A 26-year-old died after heading the wrong way on the Courtney Campbell Causeway and falling into the water early Sunday morning, police reported.About 4:13 a.m., Scott Anthony Wolf, 26, of Lee County, was driving a 2004 Chrysler Crossfi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL preseason update: How some former Bulls fared in Week 2

NFL preseason update: How some former Bulls fared in Week 2

A look at how some former USF standouts performed in Week Two of the NFL preseason:RB Quinton Flowers, BengalsWeek One (vs. Bears): One carry, 6 yardsWeek Two (vs. Cowboys): No statsLB Nigel Harris, BucsWeek One (vs. Dolphins): Three tackles (two sol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to announce who will start at quarterback when the Seminoles open against Virginia Tech in two weeks.But a decision is getting closer."How close? Closer than we were the first da...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Red Sox, trying to salvage something

For starters: Rays at Red Sox, trying to salvage something

UPDATE, 11:54: Cash said the outfield alignment was result of not wanting to put Pham or Bauers in RF for 1st time here. Said Bauers should be somewhat familiar with Green Monster due to similar LF wall at AAA Durham. … Cash said part of reason...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Police: Truck driver dies in Clearwater crash

CLEARWATER — A driver died in a single-vehicle crash on U.S. 19 early Sunday morning, police reported.About 3:02 a.m., the driver was heading northbound on the highway, exiting at NE Coachman Road, according to the Clearwater Police Department.The d...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Forecast: Heat index of 103 in Tampa Bay Sunday

Forecast: Heat index of 103 in Tampa Bay Sunday

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s another hot one.Temperatures across Tampa Bay are expected to reach the low- or -mid-90s Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, with heat indices as high as 103.Scattered thunderstorms will dot the region in the afte...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The spaghetti-breaking mystery has finally been solved

The spaghetti-breaking mystery has finally been solved

A quick Google search of the current biggest mysteries in physics turns up a daunting list of questions: What exactly is dark matter? Why does time only move in one direction? What happens inside a black hole?But sometimes, as American physicist and ...
Published: 08/19/18
A simple way to save millions of lives: Invest in toilets

A simple way to save millions of lives: Invest in toilets

Household toilets, one of the most important medical advances of the past two centuries, may be taken for granted in many parts of the world. But in places where they are lacking, people continue to die needlessly from diarrheal infections. The recen...
Published: 08/19/18
Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

BOSTON — RHP Tyler Glasnow looked so bad as he struggled through a 28-pitch first inning of the Rays' 5-2 loss to Boston that he knew enough to not look out to the bullpen, which was in action.But after allowing four runs — on two doubles...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Girl, 6, found slain in her Albuquerque-area home has connections to Wimauma

Girl, 6, found slain in her Albuquerque-area home has connections to Wimauma

The family of a 6-year-old girl found dead in New Mexico last weekend is trying to bring her remains to Wimauma.Court documents say the body of Ariana "Jade" Romeo was found at her home in Rio Rancho north of Albuquerque on bloody sheets with marijua...
Updated: 3 hours ago