Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 30, 2016 - The mother of a man who died in a Tampa Bay area hospital is seeking changes in Florida law regarding wrongful death lawsuits by parents.
Linda Porter says her son Pete Thomas died 12 years ago in a New Port Richey hospital. She believes he was given too much medication, which contributed to his death. However, under Florida law, because Thomas was unmarried and had no children, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed. Florida's Wrongful Death Act does not provide for medical negligence lawsuits by the parents of adult children. Porter has started a petition drive to change that.
“Florida's limitation on wrongful death lawsuits by parents of adult children when medical malpractice is involved represents a gap in our justice system,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa wrongful death and medical malpractice attorney with Joyce & Reyes. “Parents of adult children who are wrongfully killed in other circumstances are entitled to sue, but this exception prevents grieving families from obtaining compensation and prevents wrongdoers from being punished.”
Porter said it was a double tragedy to lose her son and then find that there was no way to “admonish the hospital or make things change.” She started a petition on Change.org, and has gathered 15,000 signatures. She said she wants to make the hospital respond to deaths like her son's, so that a similar incident does not “happen again to anyone else's family.”
Jay Wolfson, a University of South Florida health law professor, said that there are an estimated minimum of 94,000 deaths per year in the United States caused by medical errors, and that the number could be as high as two or three hundred thousand.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606