Parents of Special Needs Child Barred from Suing for Medical Malpractice
The parents of a special needs child have been barred from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a dentist that they claim administered too much sedation during a dental procedure that killed their child. Tommy Myers, 39, was the special needs child of Gary and Maureen Myers. In September 2014, he went to Dr. Veronica Thompson for a dental procedure where she gave Tommy too much sedation too quickly, and he stopped breathing. Two days later, his parents took him off of life support and he died. In addition to the negligence in the administration of sedation drugs, the following investigation found that Dr. Thompson failed to follow emergency protocol after Tommy stopped breathing.
Unfortunately, Tommy’s parents are barred from filing a medical malpractice claim against Dr. Thompson due to a Florida law that has many calling for it to be eliminated from the state statutes, and the Myers must hope that state authorities will hold Dr. Thompson accountable. Under Florida statute 768.21, the parents of an adult child ages 25 years and older are not allowed to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for damages. The current state law only allows the spouse and minor children of an adult ages 25 years and older to file and collect damages stemming from a medical malpractice case, leaving a significant portion of Florida residents – those 25 years old who are unmarried and without children – completely without options if they are killed as a result of medical malpractice. The current law is so broad that even Tommy Myers parents, who were still his guardians and caretakers, are unable to file a lawsuit to collect damages for his death.
In Tommy’s case, the state Board of Dentistry voted to revoke Dr. Thompson’s license in Florida. The Florida Department of Health’s investigation is still ongoing but is apparently attempting to avoid litigation in the case. The current settlement negotiation with Dr. Thompson involves a fine, taking some classes, and a possible temporary suspension of her license.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Florida
Unfortunately, for the victims of medical malpractice in Florida, this is one of the most doctor-friendly states in the country when it comes to claims of negligent or reckless care. The laws regarding medical malpractice can be dense and complex, which is why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney by your side throughout the process. A knowledgeable attorney can explain your legal options following a medical malpractice incident and ensure that you are receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve. Even if the law bars one type of action, there may be other avenues available for seeking compensation for the damages that you and your family have suffered.
Talk to Our Office Today
To learn more about medical malpractice cases in Florida, call or contact the office of Gary Roberts & Associates today to schedule a free consultation of your case with one of our West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys now.