In the case of North Broward Hospital District v. Michael Slusher, Case Number 4D19-1868 (Fla. 4th DCA August 21, 2019), Florida’s Fourth DCA held that a nurse helping a fall-risk patient in getting out of a bed must be sued in medical malpractice pursuant to Chapter 766, Fla. Stat. and requires the pre-suit process to take place.
Simply put, the plaintiff sued the hospital for the actions of a nurse who was helping a patient who had been identified as a “fall risk” get out of a hospital bed. The plaintiff was being transferred from the hospital bed to use the bathroom when he fell. The opinion states that the nurse answered her phone during the maneuver (and presumably that was the allegation of negligence).
Since the opinion found that Chapter 766, Fla. Stat. (Florida’s medical malpractice chapter) applied to this situation, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case for failure to follow the pre-suit process.
Any time that an injured plaintiff is receiving treatment in Florida, then the case should be considered medical malpractice even if the particular “negligence” does not require diagnosis or other active treatment. In this particular case, the nurse’s actions of assisting a patient who cannot transfer out of bed is a required duty of a nurse and it stands to reason that the court found that compliance with Chapter 766 was required.
Other cases have reached similar results:
- Indian River Memorial Hospital v. Browne, 44 So. 3d 237 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)(failure to implement adequate procedures to protect ER patients from falling from hospital beds)
- Buck v. Columbia Hospital Corp. of South Broward, 147 So. 3d 604 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)(hospital employee accidentally dropped the patient onto a hard x-ray table from a gurney)
- National Deaf Academy, LLC v. Townes, 242 So. 3d 303 (Fla. 2018)(psychiatric hospital employee leaving keys and bad unattended resulted in a patient’s death)
To Be Sure, Get Help With Your Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice cases in Florida require much thought and considerable legal skill to do successfully. To find out whether you have a valid medical malpractice case under Florida law, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Lakeland, Florida to discuss your case. A consultation is free and bears no obligation. If you have a case, there are no fees or costs unless money is recovered for you.