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Family of Boca Raton Woman Receives Nearly $2 Million to Settle Medical Malpractice Case Involving Wrongful Death Caused by Delayed Surgery

In Florida, the family of a Boca Raton woman who died after two hospitals were unable to find a neurosurgeon following her stroke has received almost $2 million from Tenet Healthcare Corp. The family and Tenet settled the medical malpractice case in April but the amount was not disclosed until June. The lawsuit said that the four-hour delay to treat Barbara Masterson after her stroke caused her death. The 52-year-old woman woke up with weakness on her right side and slurred speech on February 22, 2004, and there was bleeding in her brain by the time she arrived at the West Boca Medical Center emergency room. The hospital contacted four neurosurgeons, but they all refused to come to the hospital to treat her. A doctor at Delray Medical Center, which had a transfer agreement with West Boca, also refused to treat her. Masterson was then transported to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. By this time, she was unresponsive and her right side was paralyzed. She died several days later. Palm Beach County hospital ERs have developed a spotty reputation over the last several years due to a shortage of specialists, including neurosurgeons. Stroke care, however, has improved at a number of hospitals since 2004. Medical Malpractice in Florida In Florida, family members can file a medical malpractice lawsuit and sue over the death of a loved one. A medical malpractice claim can be brought if the person that caused injury or death to the victim was a medical professional. If the patient died as a result of the negligence, then the lawsuit can be brought under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute. A lawsuit against a hospital owned by the state, county, or city must be filed under the Florida Tort Claims Act. If the hospital where the medical malpractice incident occurred took place is federally owned, then the lawsuit must be filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Plaintiffs have two years from the time of injury/or death or when the patient or family members should have known (or knew) about the malpractice to file a case. Florida’s “statute of repose” also makes it impossible to sue a health care provider more than four years after the malpractice accident occurred unless concealment or fraud was involved. The exception to this is “Tony’s law,” which prohibits the statute of repose from cutting off a medical malpractice claim involving a child until he or she turns eight years of age. The state's two year statute of limitations, however, can still apply if parents/guardians knew or should have known that medical malpractice was the cause of the child's injury. In Palm Beach County and other areas throughout South Florida, our medical malpractice attorneys have helped many injured patients and their families recover compensation from negligent doctors, hospitals, nurses, dentists, and other medical providers. Related Web Resources: Medical Malpractice, Justia Federal Tort Claims Act (PDF) Contact The Law Office of John D. Ameen, P.A. today.

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