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Family of Prominent Florida Doctor Sues Hospital for Overdose

The chief of cardiovascular surgery at the JFK Medical Center in South Florida went into the hospital for a routine back surgery and wound up in a coma the next day, allegedly due to a lethal dose of a painkiller.

According to a lawsuit against the hospital, when the doctor awoke from surgery complaining of pain, hospital staff gave him a dose of Dilaudid that caused him to stop breathing, which led to cardiac arrest. The doctor’s daughter and legal guardian said that the staff delayed performing CPR. The doctor suffered from an anoxic brain injury and has been hospitalized sine May 2018. He is unable to breathe on his own and requires constant medical care. He has undergone multiple evaluations and multiple treatments in Miami and Boston.

The doctor’s family is suing the hospital for medical negligence and seeking $15 million in damages. The family attorney says that Dilaudid is one of the strongest painkillers, similar to heroin, and that a known side effect is respiratory depression, especially in older patients like the doctor.

In medical negligence cases, a medical provider’s conduct is judged against the prevailing standard of care. A case often turns on expert testimony regarding what another reasonably prudent medical provider with the same skill and experience would have done in the situation. Possible courses of action may include:

  • prescribing a different painkiller
  • assessing for possible side effects like respiratory depression
  • commencing CPR more quickly
  • using another drug to counteract the effects of the painkiller

The plaintiff and the defendant can each present their own medical experts at trial to provide testimony. The judge or jury then makes a determination of liability and damages.

If you or a loved one was injured by an opioid overdose or another form of medical negligence, a knowledgeable attorney from the Law Office of Paul B. Genet, P.A. can help. We have more than 30 years of legal experience and have helped secure compensation for many injured patients. Our Palm Harbor firm provides legal assistance to clients throughout Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Crystal Beach, Dunedin, Holiday, Oldsmar, Ozona, Safety Harbor, Tampa and Tarpon Springs. Contact us online or call us at 727-538-8865 to schedule a free consultation.

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