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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

How will Affordable Care Act impact medical malpractice suits?

Although the number of people who obtained health insurance through the state and federal exchanges is subject to political spin, according to a May 1 article in the "Miami Herald," federal health officials say nearly one million Floridians obtained private health insurance by March 31, when the initial enrollment period ended. Another 223,000 enrolled in Medicaid.

One insurance expert said that about a quarter of enrollees were previously uninsured and that in a few years, there will be over 22 million newly-insured Americans. What will the impact be on medical malpractice lawsuits? At an actuarial conference this spring, several insurance experts made their predictions for the next ten years.

Safety group's picks can help Florida teens avoid fatal crashes

Many Florida parents are buying their teens their first car this summer as they prepare to go off to college. Some parents of teens still in high school find it's more convenient to get their son or daughter a car so that they can get to school, a part-time job and other activities without borrowing the family car or getting a ride from mom or dad.

While cost is likely an issue for parents shopping for cars with their teens, safety is no doubt an overriding concern. According to the Automobile Association of America, teen driving fatalities have risen more than 25 percent in the last decade. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently said that teens who die in auto accidents are more likely to be in older, unsafe vehicles.

Florida woman sues Ford over carbon monoxide in Explorers

If automakers have learned anything from the troubles that General Motors has experienced due to its delays in dealing with its defective ignition switch, it’s to take swift and complete action when a problem is reported. Now a problem that Ford Motor Co. identified in 2012 is coming back to haunt it in the form of a lawsuit that could become a class-action case.

It involves Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicles manufactured in the past few years. Carbon monoxide has reportedly been found in the passenger area of some SUVs. In Dec. 2012, the automaker issued a technical service bulletin that discussed several ways to fix the problem if customers reported an exhaust odor. However, the company did not mention any safety concerns or issue a recall.

Florida hospitals working toward 39-week gestation for babies

Nearly 50 Florida hospitals have received recognition from the March of Dimes and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as part of the “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait” program. According to a March of Dimes spokesperson, many other Florida medical facilities are working to qualify for the honor by year-end. The program was designed to decrease the practice of delivering a baby before its 39th week of gestation.

Further, six Florida hospitals that participated in a pilot program to decrease intentional early deliveries decreased their rates from almost 28 percent to less than 5 percent. That under 5 percent mark is the requirement for the “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait” honor also. The hospitals that reached the goal did so by delaying scheduled Cesarean sections and decreasing early-induced labors.

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Best Hospitals In 2014

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual ranking of the best hospitals in the country, and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota topped the list for the first time. 

Massachusetts General, John Hopkins Hospital, Cleveland Clinic and UCLA Medical Center round out the top five hospitals in the country. 

The yearly analysis looks at factors such as patient survival rates, adequate nursing staff, reputation with specialist physicians and patient safety, which has more emphasis this year, when putting together the list. 

While no Florida hospitals placed in the top five of the list, the publication also ranked regional hospitals. Florida has more than 260 hospitals. Seven are nationally ranked and 26 others meet standards for strong performance within the state. 

In Florida, Florida Hospital in Orlando topped the list, followed by Tampa General and UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. In South Florida, the highest ranked hospital was the Bascon Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, which was also nationally ranked. 

The next best hospital in South Florida was Baptist Hospital of Miami which came in 8th place in the state. Cleveland Clinic and Mount Sinai followed. 

U.S. News sifted through data for nearly 5,000 hospitals and results from surveys of more than 9,500 physicians to rank the best centers in 16 adult specialties from cancer to urology. Death rates, patient safety and hospital reputation were a few of the many factors we considered. Only 144 hospitals were nationally ranked in a specialty. 

U.S. News & World Reports recommends looking at their list if your surgery calls for special expertise, or if age, physical infirmities or a chronic condition could compromise your treatment or procedure. 

The publication also reiterates that just because the hospital is the highest-ranked in a specialty, it does not mean it is the best choice. 

Woman killed on Florida beach by alleged drunk driver

A New Smyrna Beach, Florida, man is facing a DUI manslaughter charge as well as charges of DUI with damage to property or a person for the death of a North Carolina woman. The woman was walking along Daytona Beach Shores last month with family and taking photos when she was allegedly struck by the 35-year-old man.

The area has seen other pedestrian-auto accidents on the beach, but in those, the car was driving on the beach. Safety measures have been enacted to prevent these. However, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson is calling this one unique "because the car left the roadway and drove through the closed gate."

Florida family files wrongful death suit over boy's electrocution

We're all aware of the potentially fatal dangers that swimming pools can pose for children. However, electrocution may not be the first one that comes to mind. Sadly, however, that's how a 7-year-old South Florida boy lost his life in April, according to a wrongful death suit filed by his family. His tragic story has already gained extensive media attention nationwide.

The suit, which names four companies as defendants, asserts that the boy was electrocuted by a pool light that was improperly grounded and bonded. The plaintiffs are suing the company that designed and made the light as well as the electrician who installed it. They are also seeking damages from the company that maintained the family's pool and the company that inspected the house when they bought it.

Gainesville veterans hospital highest in wrongful death payments

We've discussed here previously the problems that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities here in Florida and across the country. Now comes a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting that the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville paid more in wrongful death settlements in the decade following the 9/11 attacks than any other VA hospital in the state. It also was second in the number of settled cases, after Tampa's James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

The Gainesville hospital is part of the North Florida/South Georgia system, which is the largest one in the country, according to its chief of staff. He also notes that the Gainesville hospital treats more patients than any other VA hospital in Florida. He cites this as the primary reason for the facility's high number of wrongful deaths cased.

Florida medical malpractice settlement leads to bankruptcy filing

Medical malpractice suits can be damaging the reputations (many would say deservedly so) of medical professionals, private practices and healthcare facilities. In addition, such suits can have a serious impact on these entities' finances and ability to do business. Sometimes it can even drive them to bankruptcy. That was the case recently with a South Florida medical practice.

A man settled a lawsuit with the business, South Florida Multispecialty Associates, last month for $250,000. The specifics of the medical malpractice case were not reported. However, the plaintiff was representing his deceased wife.

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