As personal injury attorneys practicing medical malpractice law in the State of Florida on behalf of the victims of preventable medical errors, we are saddened that the Florida Legislature has again passed a series of laws which will make it increasingly difficult for injured Floridians to obtain justice for their injuries.
Yesterday, the Florida Senate passed the Florida House of Representative’s bill, number 479, which among other burdens, requires out of state physicians to obtain an expert witness certificate, if they want to testify in a Florida medical malpractice case. As you can imagine, it is difficult to find local doctors willing to testify against other local doctors, no matter how egregious their conduct.
The bill will also exclude a doctor or hospital’s failure to comply with federal requirements from evidence in certain cases. The bill also invades the injured patients right of privacy by requiring them to execute an authorization form for the doctor’s insurance company; and, amazingly allows a medical malpractice defendant to interview an injured victim’s other treating doctors outside the presence of the injured victim, or their attorney. The only purpose of such unsupervised meetings will be to coerce the treating doctors into rendering testimony which is favorable to the potential defendant doctor or hospital.
Too often injured victims or their surviving family members are shocked by the burdens they must overcome in order to proceed with an medical malpractice case. Unfortunately, these new protections for doctors and hospitals, at the expense of injured Floridians, will only serve to limit the rights of individuals, while doing nothing to insure that health care providers do what is needed to prevent their errors in the first place.