Florida’s Courts Don’t Understand Suicide Medical Malpractice

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal unplugged the rights of victims of the negligent failure to diagnose suicide in the case of Rebecca A. Tuten as the personal representative of James Tuten v. Alexander Fariborzian, Meridian Behavior Healthcare, Inc. Here are the facts: On behalf of her husband, Jame’s, estate, Rebecca Tuten sued Dr. Alexander Fariborzian, a psychiatrist, and Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, a psychiatric facility,for his negligent wrongful suicide death in Florida. Mr. Tuten was receiving outpatient care at Meridian for depression and suicidal ideations. He attempted suicide in 2007 and voluntary admitted himself. After only 3 days, he was released on medication. Two months later he again attempted suicide and was admitted in the intensive care unit of a local Florida hospital. After being discharged from the ICU he was readmitted into Meridian, but again after just 3 days of care, he requested to be discharged. This time, Dr. Fariborzian denied his request and a petition was filed to involuntary continue his admission pursuant to Florida’s Baker Act. Dr. Fariborzian supported the petition for the Baker Act. At the court hearing for the Baker Act procedure, Mr. Tuten requested to be discharged and Dr. Fariborzian certified that he was competent to provide his own consent for release with an order to receive follow-up care. The very next day Mr. Tuten shot his wife and then fatally shot himself. The court dismissed her first complaint and she amended it to include a count against the doctor for breaching the standard of care when he certified that Mr. Tuten was competent to consent and against the facility for vicarious liability...

Why Is Florida The Nation’s Rape Capital?

The legal definition of “rape” in the United States has not changed for nearly 100 years. Since 1920, only forcible vaginal penetration by a man has been classified as rape. This excluded situations where victims were drugged or intoxicated or the alleged anal raping of boys by former Penn State University football coach, Jerry Sandusky. In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department requested that the F.B.I. form a committee comprised of local and state law enforcement agencies to expand the definition. As a lawyer who helps victims of sexual assault in Florida, I cannot believe it took this long. President Obama’s administration led the crusade to expand the definition to include forcible anal or oral penetration of a man or woman or the rape of a woman by another woman. Yet, they failed to include non-consensual sex forced upon a man by a woman. I personally handled a case in Florida where a female healthcare provider improperly touched a male patient’s genitalia in a nursing home. Florida’s criminal law refers to rape as sexual battery and defines it as oral, anal or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ or object. Florida Statute §794.011 1(h) clearly excludes any penetration done in the context of a medical procedure. I disagree with this exclusion as I have represented several women who have been sexually assaulted during medical procedures at South Florida hospitals. States are now required to report all rapes to the F.B.I. which maintains national statistical data in the Uniform Crime Reports. However, based upon the outdated and inconsistent definitions, many rapes go unreported to the F.B.I.’s uniform crime report. The 2011...

Does Florida’s FDOT Care About Monorail Safety?

As a lawyer who sues the Florida Department of Transportation for injuries caused by its carelessness it did not surprise me that that those fancy high speed automated monorails that zip nearly 9000 passengers per day between terminals on the premises of Miami’s International Airport (MIA) would end up causing a serious Miami accident. The Florida Department of Transportation has taken a hands-off approach to inspection and safety of the MIA monorails even though MIA is located within the State of Florida. What is even stranger is that the FDOT oversees identical monorails at both Tampa and Orlando airports. Wonder why? It probably has something do with money. Sadly, on November 23, 2008, a horrible accident happened at MIA when a three-car monorail on Concourse E with passengers on board flew past its designated stop and slammed into a wall. The accident caused serious personal injury to several Miami passengers and millions of dollars of property damage. The FDOT did not investigate the accident, but rather, it was left to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB holds itself out as an “independent federal agency” charged with the investigation of accidents and the promotion of transportation safety. As I recently reported on the “Huffington Post,” the NTSB investigation revealed that accident could have and should have been prevented by appropriate supervision of the maintenance team. More importantly it recommend that the FDOT be involved in overseeing the safety of monorails in the State of Florida regardless of compensation. Florida’s Statute §330 requires the Florida Department of Transportation to administer and enforce the rules and regulations for public airports....

Florida’s Patients Have a Right to Know About “Adverse Incidents”

As a Miami Beach lawyer who sues careless hospitals I was pleased to see that our Florida Supreme Court finally struck back at the ultra doctor-friendly Florida Legislature in the case of West Florida Regional Medical Center v. Linda See when it ruled that information obtainable pursuant to Florida’s Constitutional Amendment 7 is not protected from discovery. In 2003, Lynda See complained of pain during a consult with her primary care doctor. He then ordered her to have an ultrasound which revealed a tiny amount of “sludge” in her gallbladder. She was then referred to a surgeon who recommended a laparoscopic cholecystosomy or removal of the gallbladder. The surgery was performed at West Florida Hospital and during the surgery, the common bile duct was severed. A common mistake that I am very familiar with as Florida botched gallbladder surgery malpractice lawyer. When the lacerated bile duct was discovered, a consult was made by another doctor that the patient needed two kinds of emergency procedures, one called a Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy and the other an open laparotomy. Both procedures were performed without Ms. See’s knowledge or consent. She contended that the emergency surgeries were also done negligently, causing additional damage. In addition, she claimed that they doctors failed to monitor her liver postoperatively causing premature liver damage. Based upon the botched initial, follow up and post-op malpractice, Ms. See was forced to have a another round of surgery in 2005 and had to have a liver transplant. She ultimately filed a Florida gallbladder surgery malpractice case against all the doctors and West Florida Regional Medical Center for both vicarious liability of...

Suing a Midwife in Florida

With more Americans living without health insurance, a growing number of women are choosing to deliver babies at home. Home births are less expensive. According to a recent New York Times article, from 2004 to 2008 more than 28,000 babies were born at home, which is less than one percent of all births. However, the number is increasing. One reason might be the fact that research shows that planned home birth mothers receive fewer interventions, including epidurals, fetal heart rate monitoring and episiotomies, which means that these women are far less likely to experience lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections. In addition, the research showed that planned home births babies are less likely to be born prematurely, suffer low birth weight or require intubation. Although planned home and hospital births exhibited similar perinatal mortality rates, once the baby is born at home it is three times more likely to die. As a Florida midwife birth injury lawyer I recommend that only women who are having completely normal, non-eventual pregnancies even consider having birth at home or under the care of a midwife. A midwife should never be considered if the mother has a history of diabetes, hypertension, is carrying twins or has any other type of obstetric complication. In addition, both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist ACOG and the American College of Nurse Midwives agree that any women who has already had a baby by C-Section (VBAC) should have all subsequent babies in a hospital. In Florida, a skilled and certified midwife has to have a relationship with both a hospital and OB doctor. Certified midwives are licensed in...
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