Last November, Connor Mincey was sent home sick from a childcare center in Miami, Florida. That day, his parents, Donald and Doreen Mincey, took him to a pediatrician where he was diagnosed with a cold. The pediatrician cleared the 22-month-old child to go back to daycare. Connor died on December 3.
The two weeks between Connor’s initial symptoms and his death were a “nightmare,” said Donald Mincey. The parents took Connor to urgent care and to see a pediatrician.
The Minceys took Connor to the emergency room at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital after they recorded his fever at 103 degrees. The doctors believed that Connor did not need the attention of the emergency room and suggested that they take him to a nearby urgent care instead.
Donald Mincey recalled that Connor was diagnosed with wheezing bronchitis at the urgent care center. “He’s dying in our arms,” Mincey explained, incredulous. “The doctor told us to come back in four to six days. He had lost mobility by then. He couldn’t even stand. To keep giving this child Tylenol and Motrin . . . and he’s not improving. We knew something wasn’t right.”
Soon after, when Connor’s conditioned worsened, the Minceys took him to see a pediatrician again. He told the Minceys to go back to the Nicklaus Children’s emergency room. Connor was admitted there and prescribed antibiotics. Minsey’s attorney Judd Rosen said, “From November 21 to November 28, he was never given antibiotics. We feel that antibiotics would have been able to treat the condition that Connor had.” Doctors finally diagnosed the child with pneumococcal meningitis on November 30.
Pneumococcal meningitis is an extremely infectious disease catalyzed by common bacteria spread by coughing, sneezing and contact with infected saliva or mucus.
Connor was the first of two children at the downtown Miami childcare center to die after getting sick.
The family of Miguel Antonio Franco has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the south Florida nursing home where he and 10 other elderly residents died after Hurricane Irma. The hurricane struck on September 10 leaving the facility without air conditioning for days.
The lawsuit claims that The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills failed to provide proper air conditioning, causing residents to endure high temperatures after electrical power was lost. The complaint also alleges that the facility failed to call for emergency assistance. The family claims that Miguel Franco’s wife, Cecilia Franco, also did not receive proper care. She was hospitalized in serious condition, but survived, the family said. Miguel Franco was 93 and Cecilia Franco is 90.
Facility officials say they took steps to provide cooling devices and maintained constant contact with local and state authorities.
The family of Miguel Franco said that his death was preventable, and the facility should have called 911. The Hollywood Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and other probes are underway by federal and state agencies.
The lawsuit states that the nursing home lost power after the hurricane hit on September 10, and the facility did not have backup generators to keep the building cool. According to the complaint, nursing home staff failed to evacuate patients to the hospital across the street, but instead wheeled several residents into the hallway, undressing some of them. At 1:30 a.m. on September 13, a 911 call was placed after a resident went into cardiac distress, and over the next few hours, two other calls were made to 911. The office of Gov. Rick Scott said the calls came too late. State and city officials say they advised the facility to call 911 if the safety or health of the residents was at risk.
Wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in Florida by the families of two people who died along with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez when the boat he was piloting crashed into a jetty.
The accident occurred on September 25, 2016, when the boat hit a rock jetty near Miami Beach at a speed in excess of 65 miles per hour, according to an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Investigators concluded that Fernandez who was piloting the 32-foot vessel was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine when the crash occurred.
Investigators said that if the 24-year-old all-star had survived, he could have faced charges of vessel homicide, boating while intoxicated, manslaughter and reckless or careless operation. The report concluded without equivocation that Fernandez’s “impairment and manner of operation” caused the crash which resulted in his own death and the deaths of his friends Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero.
Attorneys for the families of Macias and Rivero issued a joint statement that although “fault has been determined officially,” the families wish for a swift and amicable settlement, as the accident was a tragedy for all concerned. The lawsuits allege that Fernandez was responsible for the men’s deaths and his passengers were owed a reasonable degree of care.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by a Florida family against a restaurant where they say their family member ate before dying of salmonella poisoning.
Gary Kidwell, 39, died at Boca Regional Hospital on Feb. 12, 2015, after becoming sick in the fall of 2014. The family said that cultures were performed at the hospital indicated that Kidwell was suffering from a salmonella infection.
Soon after Kidwell was admitted to the hospital in 2014, his sister reported to the Palm Beach County Health Department that Kidwell had recently eaten at a Boston Market restaurant near Boynton Beach, prompting an investigation.
During the investigation of the restaurant, health inspectors found nine violations, including two involving hand washing violations. Investigators witnessed one worker fail to wash his hands and saw a sink designated as a hand-washing sink was used as a “dump sink” instead. Restaurant workers failing to wash their hands is one of the main ways salmonella is spread.
A spokesman for Boston Market said that there is no proof linking Kidwell’s illness to the restaurant.
Kidwell underwent multiple surgeries after developing salmonella sepsis. Salmonella poisoning does not usually result in death. The lawsuit seeks damages in an unspecified amount for Kidwell’s three daughters.
The parents of a young mentally ill man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Florida have settled their wrongful death lawsuit for $1.7 million.
Michael Camberdella was shot and killed by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy in Boynton Beach, Florida in 2012. According to the family’s attorney, Michael, age 18, suffered from bipolar disorder and had not been taking his medicine. His mother, Linda Camberdella, called 911 after she said Michael became aggressive toward her. She told the 911 operator her son needed professional help to make sure he did not hurt himself or others.
According to an investigative report, Deputy William Goldstein approached while holding his service revolver and ordered Michael to drop the rubber mallet and garden shears he was holding and lie on the ground, which he did. Investigators said that Michael then began pulling “unknown objects” – later identified as rocks – from his pockets and throwing them at the deputy. Goldstein started firing from about 23 feet away, and fired 11 shots, investigators said. The lawsuit stated that one of the shots struck Michael in the heart, killing him.
In August, an appeals court refused to grant Goldstein immunity from the wrongful death lawsuit, affirming the earlier conclusion of a district court that a reasonable jury could find that a clearly established constitutional right was violated when Goldstein shot and killed Michael.
The lawsuit claimed that Goldstein failed to use proper police techniques such as calling for backup or a crisis team.
An appeals court upheld a ruling shielding Tampa General Hospital from potential medical malpractice liability in a case over a patient who died during surgery.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by a circuit judge granting summary judgment to Tampa General Hospital. The appeals court agreed with the judge on the central issue of whether two doctors involved in the surgery were connected to the hospital. Tampa General argued that the doctors were employed by the University of South Florida, and the hospital had delegated its duty of care and any potential liability to the university. The university’s College of Medicine uses Tampa General as its primary teaching hospital.
The lawsuit was filed by the estate of Annie Godwin against the university, Tampa General, and the two physicians, after Godwin died during surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in 2009. Godwin died due to heavy bleeding after she suffered a tear in a vein.
According to the three-judge appeals panel, there were no disputed facts undermining the conclusion of the trial court that the doctors were not employees or agents of Tampa General Hospital. The appeals court said that the physicians were employees of USF, and Godwin had signed a document acknowledging that fact.
The family of a man killed by a Florida police officer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city of Palm Beach Gardens.
Corey Jones, a 31-year-old African-American man who was employed as a property manager and played drums in his church, was killed by Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja. Jones was waiting for roadside assistance in his stranded vehicle when he was shot.
Jones’ family claims in their lawsuit that the city was negligent in hiring Raja, failed to properly train and supervise him, and had an unofficial policy of allowing excessive force by officers. The lawsuit also alleges that Raja had a “clear pattern” of being disciplined for failure to follow orders.
Dave Aronberg, the Palm Beach County State Attorney, announced in June that a grand jury had determined that the shooting was not justified. Prosecutors charged Raja with first degree attempted murder and manslaughter by culpable negligence. Investigators said that Raja shot Jones before making a 911 call, but Raja is heard on the call yelling at someone to drop a gun. Attorneys for the Jones family said that the 911 tapes show that Raja’s account of the incident is inconsistent with the objective evidence.
The lawsuit was moved to federal court, where the city of Palm Beach Gardens sought to have the suit dismissed. Attorneys for the city claimed that Florida law excludes municipalities from liability for acts committed by its agents while acting outside the scope of their employment or with malicious purpose or bad faith.
A jury in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit found Domino’s Pizza liable for car accident that left a man paralyzed from the waist down and ultimately resulted in his death.
After Richard Wiederhold, a Brevard County fire chief, was hit by a pizza delivery driver, he was left paralyzed, and his wife had to take care of all his personal needs. He died of his injuries 15 months later, and his wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza. In April, a jury found the delivery driver 90 percent responsible for the crash and Wiederhold 10 percent responsible, meaning that the award for Yvonne Wiederhold may be about $9 million of the $10 million verdict.
Domino’s had previously agreed to pay for Wiederhold’s medical expenses. The jury awarded damages for pain and suffering and loss of companionship, finding that the parent company was responsible for the actions of its franchisees, including the negligent driver. Domino’s said it believes there are grounds for a new trial, and if a new trial is denied, then the company plans to appeal.
Richard Wiederhold was living when the case was filed as a personal injury claim, and upon his death the suit was changed to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Medical malpractice causes thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Here are the facts you should be aware of.
• Medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Patient Safety, which estimates that up to 440,000 Americans die each year from preventable mistakes in hospitals.
• The annual costs to society for medical errors is estimated to be up to $29 billion, and may be much higher.
• Only one out of every eight preventable medical mistakes in hospitals nationwide results in a claim of malpractice.
• In Florida, from 1996 through 1999, there were 19,885 incidents of medical errors reported by hospitals, and 3,177 claims of medical malpractice. This reflects a rate of only one out of every six errors resulting in a claim.
• The actual rate of medical malpractice may be higher than reports indicate, because medical errors are believed to be severely underreported.
• From 1995 to 2000, there was a 4 percent decline in new medical malpractice claims. In 1995, there were 90,212 claims filed; in 2000 there were 86,480 claims filed.
• If you were inured or lost a loved one as the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.
A Tampa doctor who practiced in Pinellas Park, and his wife, were convicted of federal drug conspiracy charges, for prescribing oxycodone and other medications that a jury found led to three patient deaths.
Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, a 76-year-old orthopedist, and his wife Kim Feldman, were both convicted on five related counts in a case that involved $5.7 million worth of medication and three deaths from drug overdoses. They both face time in prison, but only the doctor was charged in the deaths of the patients.
Feldman argued that patients gave him false information to fool him into prescribing drugs, but federal prosecutors said that Feldman willfully ignored warning signs. The Feldmans were ordered taken into custody with sentencing scheduled for May 23.
The doctor had been linked to more patient deaths than the three that were the subject of the case. According to news reports, Feldman’s name was on pill bottles found at multiple overdose scenes. Out of the jury’s hearing, the federal prosecutor told the judge that the government had 16 deaths to choose from in making its case.
Prescribing dangerous or inappropriate medication can constitute pharmaceutical negligence, whether it is in the context of an unethical pill mill or a doctor or pharmacy error. In addition to the criminal charges faced by pill mill operators, civil lawsuits may be filed by patients or their loved ones who are injured by such negligence.