In yet another blow to Florida victims of medical malpractice , the Florida Supreme Court ruled that hospitals are not required to verify that their staff physicians carry medical malpractice insurance. This ruling essentially allows doctors to disregard Florida Statute Section 458.720 which requires them to have medical malpractice insurance if they are on a hospital staff. Without hospitals verifying that their staff doctors are complying with their statutory insurance requirements, those doctors will have one less reason to purchase malpractice insurance.
Too often in our practice we see Florida doctors going “bare,” that is, not having medical malpractice insurance to protect their patients in the event a procedure or treatment is performed negligently and results in personal injury or wrongful death. Usually it is the office based doctor, one who doesn’t venture into hospitals, who has chosen not to carry insurance; but now, with this ruling, there will certainly be a significant increase in surgeons who decide not to get insurance, leaving their patients without an avenue of recovery if something goes wrong.
Considering the profits hospitals make by allowing doctors to operate in their facilities, we would certainly hope that the legislature acts to rectify this omission in Florida Law.