A Florida family was awarded $33.8 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a judge ruled that a baby’s irreversible brain damage was caused by the decisions of a federally employed doctor.
The baby’s mother was a patient at Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami Gardens, Florida when the baby was born on December 2, 2013. Because the clinic is federally funded, the federal government is responsible for paying the award.
The mother testified that she pleaded for a cesarean section, but the doctor attending her labor and delivery refused, and left to attend another delivery. The lawsuit also claimed that the doctor was speaking on the phone with his financial adviser. The baby was not breathing when he was born, and he suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen, according to court documents. Medical experts from both the plaintiffs and the defense agreed that the brain damage could have been prevented by a cesarean section.
U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola wrote in his order that the boy, now age 3, has a life expectancy of an additional 9 to 12 years. Judge Scola awarded the mother $3.3 million and the father $1.1 million for their pain and suffering. He awarded $7.6 million for the child’s pain and suffering and $21.7 million for his economic damages. The award was not limited by Florida’s statutory cap, and will be paid in installments by the federal government.
Researchers ranked Florida’s distracted drivers the second worst in the nation.
EverQuote, an online insurance marketplace, collected data from 2.7 million car trips over 230 million miles, through its EverDrive app, which promotes safe driving habits. The app helps users monitor their own speeding and cell phone use while driving. Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents.
The company said that users of the app use their phones on 38 percent of trips, and exceed the speed limit on 36 percent of them. These numbers may underreport the actual rates of distracted driving and speeding, because people who use the app may be more safety conscious, and they know their speed and cell phone use are being tracked.
The study found that Northeastern drivers speed the most, Midwesterners are the safest drivers overall, and Southern drivers use their cell phones the most while driving. Florida drivers used cell phones on a higher percentage of car trips than in any other state except Louisiana. Drivers in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina also used their phones while driving more often than drivers in the rest of the country.
Some of the regional differences may be due to variation in laws regarding cell phone use while driving. Few Southern states have an outright ban on the use of handheld devices while driving. In Florida, texting while driving is prohibited, but it is a secondary offense, which means that an officer must observe drivers break some other law, such as exceeding the speed limit, before they can stop them for texting while driving.
Overall, EverQuote found that 92 percent of U.S. drivers use cell phones while behind the wheel at least some of the time.