Florida Governor Scott Loves Cataract Surgeons

Our Coral Gables medical injury law firm was horrified to learn about the Florida Legislature’s passing of HB 479. This law evidences the further destruction of the legal rights of injured patients, while continuing to provide dangerous and unconstitutional protection for doctors and hospitals. The law is dangerous in that, rather than motivating safer and more humane care for patients, it actually insulates health care providers from legal accountability for their errors. Yesterday, we discussed how Bill 479 affects expert witness testimony. Today, in Part Two, we discuss “Informed Consent” as it applies to cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is the removal of the eye lens often involving replacement with an artificial lens. Complications to the procedure are bleeding, swelling, retinal detachment and often a secondary cataract. Florida already had in place the Florida Medical Consent Law that requires doctors to inform and advise patients of the risks of undergoing a procedure. These are often thrust into the hands of a nervous patient moments before the procedure begins. There is no requirement that the consents be uniform, nor that they be in the language of the patient, nor that they be of a certain size font or type set, nor provided days or weeks before the procedure. Of course not, because that would simply make the patient more “informed.” For some inexplicable reason, the Florida Legislature decided that, of all the types of procedures being performed in Florida, cataract surgery needed to have its own informed consent form. This special consent form, if signed by the patient, creates a rebuttable presumption that the doctor actually disclosed the risks to the...

“Dear Governor Rick Scott-Don’t Call Me If A Doctor or Hospital Injures You or Yours”

As a Florida hospital injury lawyer, I have seen injured patients have their rights chipped away little-by-little. Today, Governor Scott and our Florida Legislature took a wrecking ball to patients’ rights and to the U.S Constitution when he signed into law Florida House Bill 479. I am sure that, unless you are a lawyer who specializes in the representation of injured Florida patients you may find it difficult to comprehend the damage this law will cause. The new law’s scope is so profound I have to blog in parts. Here is Part One: Bill 479 creates a mandatory expert witness certification requirement for out-of-state experts that testify in medical malpractice cases. While this seems harmless, in reality most people do not understand how difficult it already is to obtain expert witness help on behalf of patients. Let’s start with Florida Statute ยง766.203(2)’s requirement that before any doctor or hospital can be sued for malpractice, the patient has to have a sworn affidavit signed by a doctor who is of the same specialty as the potential defendant and has worked in the same specialty for the previous three years. The witness must literally swear that the defendant committed malpractice. Sound simple enough? It’s not. In fact, it is very expensive and nearly impossible to find anyone locally who will testify against a fellow doctor in the same community. Most fear that they will be ostracized and blackballed from getting staff privileges, speaking invitations or pharmaceutical grants. This forces injured patients and their lawyers to search out of the state to find willing experts. ARVE Error: no video ID setbr />...

What Can Law School Graduates Do To Get An Interview?

Our Florida hip implant injury law firm receives several unsolicited resumes a week from recent law school graduates applying for positions at our South Florida personal injury law office. Getting your resume into the right hands has never been more of a challenge than in today’s current job market. If you blindly mass send your resume to a number of law firms, you will be lucky to get your resume past whomever they entrust to sort their junk mail from pleadings. Today, the best way to get your resume into the right hand starts with figuring out where and how you would be the best fit for the potential employer. This starts with a long, hard look in the mirror and some hard-answered question. Ask yourself if you really, truly want to be a lawyer, and if so what kind. Like most recent law school grads, you probably know very few real lawyers, if any. So, meeting real lawyers is the first step and the sooner that starts the better. In my book, “Make It Your Own Law Firm. The Ultimate Law Student’s Guide to Owning, Managing and Marketing Your Own Successful Law Firm” I provide a detailed road map as to how to acquire and keep meaningful contacts that can and should become your mentors once you graduate. The bottom line is you have to meet lawyers. Take a look at your state’s bar journal or your city’s or town’s local bar association web site and find events that you can attend now. Most have weekly or monthly luncheons, meetings or cocktail parties that you can attend for...

Suicide Warning Signs for Post Hospitalization

As a Florida medical malpractice attorney, few cases are as factually complex as those involving the suicide of an hospitalized or recently-discharged patient. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers most often review cases where the death is caused from surgical mistakes or misdiagnosis. However, when the death of a hospital patient is the result of suicide we believe that it is a preventable and avoidable event. Some suggest that the increase in hospital inpatient suicides, especially among men, is due to shorter duration of admission, inadequate doses of medication and careless assessment of patients given permission to go off ward. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a million people commit suicide every year worldwide. The primary risk factors are mental illness, depression and recent increase or sudden change in substance abuse. Surprisingly, the rates of suicide have increased by 60% over the last 45 years. Evidence shows that adequate prevention and restriction to common methods of suicide such as firearms and pesticides have proven to be dramatically effective. The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) have identified five common misconceptions about suicide: 1. People who talk about it don’t do it. 2. Anyone who tries to commit suicide must be insane. 3. If someone truly wants to commit suicide, nothing will stop them. 4. People who commit suicide do not want help. 5. Mentioning suicide might give someone the idea. If you are contemplating suicide or believe that a friend or family member is in immediate danger call 911 or the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Do not hesitate, even if you are worried about risking a friendship. According...

GENERIC OR NAME BRAND–NOT JUST A QUESTION OF PRICE ANYMORE

Bruce Shemrock Trial Lawyer, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers As a law firm that sues drug companies we were surprised to discover the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 23, 2011 that generic drug companies cannot be sued under state law over allegations that they failed to provide adequate label warnings about potential side effects. In the case they heard, the generic drug manufacturers argued that federal law barred these suits because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the subject name brand drugs, and that federal law requires generics to have the same labels as the name brand. However, in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that drug regulations do not protect pharmaceutical companies from being sued in state courts over drug labeling and failure to warn consumers of possible side effects. In this year’s ruling, the Court agreed with the generic drug manufacturers that, because of the federal labeling law, they had no choice but to put the same labels on their products as the name brand drug manufacturers. Generic drug companies are therefore protected from responsibility for failure to warn of possible side effects if such warnings do not appear on the name brand drug label. Some argue that this will change the face of drug dispensing. Consumers with good insurance or the ability to pay may now choose to take the name brand to get the extra protection of the possibility of suit should something go wrong. Others opine that prices of generic drugs may fall due to this new-found protection from lawsuits. Our Florida defective product lawyers advise our friends and clients, to now carefully consider...
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