$15.5 Million Medical Malpractice Award Overturned by Florida Court

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A new trial was recently ordered in a South Florida medical malpractice case in which more than $15.5 million in damages were awarded. In the original case, Stephanie Hollingsworth was admitted to the Fort Lauderdale Holy Cross Hospital in 2008 with vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessel walls). This vasculitis resulted in sores and pain to Hollingsworth’s hands and feet. At that time, Hollingsworth’s limbs deteriorated as a result of physician Yvonne Sherrer’s alleged failure to prescribe the correct medication and transfer Hollingsworth to another hospital.

Hollingsworth was eventually transferred to the University of Miami Hospital, although her attorney claimed she was near death and gangrenous at the time of the transfer. She lost fingers and part of a foot in the ordeal. While Holy Cross Hospital was named in the original lawsuit, the hospital was not found at fault. Hollingsworth was awarded $15.5 million for her medical malpractice claim, but the case was appealed to a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeals.

The appeal cited improper jury instruction, specifically, the circuit judge’s jury instructions regarding informed consent. Hollingsworth’s attorney argued in the original claim that Sherrer failed to treat her with the drug Cytoxan properly and failed to provide information about the drug. The appeals court said because the informed consent issue was not a part of the original claim, it should not have been part of the jury instructions.

In the four-page ruling, the appeals court found that the judge’s instruction on informed consent contributed to the jury finding the doctor negligent, even if they believed the “doctor’s decision not to administer Cytoxan fell within the standard of care.” The court believed that this additional theory of negligence made the jury biased against the doctor. As a result, the appeals court reversed the award, and a new trial on all issues would need to be conducted.

Appeals Common in Medical Malpractice Claims?

According to the Court Statistics Project, in 2009, about 18 percent of all medical malpractice verdicts across the nation were appealed. Obviously, it can be disheartening for an individual who has gone through the process of a medical malpractice trial to have the verdict appealed and overturned. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney by your side from beginning to end. Experience truly does matter in this instance. Lawyers who focus on medical malpractice claims understand the complex demands of Florida law designed to protect doctors and hospitals and will aggressively defend the rights of the victim.

Contact Our Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

Suffering from a medical or surgical error can be devastating for you and your family. Victims of medical malpractice often face a long and arduous recovery process, and many are left with permanent and disfiguring injuries. At Armando Personal Injury Law, our Tampa medical malpractice lawyers can help you and your family during this difficult time. Contact Armando Personal Injury Law at (813)906-1168 or fill out our confidential contact form. We have offices in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Lakeland, Florida, and we offer complete legal assistance every step of the way.