Florida Supreme Court Reviews $4M Malpractice Case

Posted on: September 23, 2015 by Javier iSure

A Miami-Dade County case involving a medical malpractice lawsuit over negligent diagnosis of a child’s kidney disease is in the process of overturn in the appeals court. The verdict originally ruled in favor of the treating pediatrician, but the unfair testimony usage in combination with misstatements has led judges to declare a new trial. While incidents like this can be devastating to personal reputation and business, Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance can help to mitigate these potential losses.

The attorneys for Monica Gutierrez alleged that her pediatrician, Jose Luis Vargas, failed to treat her kidney disease properly. However, attorneys representing Gutierrez and her family enlisted the professional medical testimony of four pathologists to speak on the timing and diagnosis of the child’s disease and apparently mischaracterized one witness’ testimony.

In a 24-page ruling, the 3rd District Court of Appeal sided with Vargas, as determined by a panel of three judges. CBS Miami reports that they stated the attorneys should not have been permitted to present such extensive pathology specialty testimony.

Vargas, who treated Gutierrez for 6 years following her birth in 2000, was awarded $4.1 million in the winning verdict. For the majority, the case revolved around Gutierrez’ kidney issues and whether or not Dr. Vargas misdiagnosed her condition. The lawsuit alleged that Vargas did not follow up on samples that showed elevated levels of protein in the urine of the child, who ultimately needed a kidney transplant, according to CBS Miami.

The lawsuit was filed in 2008 but the appeals court ultimately decided that the professional testimony needed to be limited to one per specialty. Judge Leslie Rothenberg, in conjunction with judges Frank Shepherd and Edwin Scales declared “The unfair use of expert testimony in this case requires a new trial. Dr. Vargas may or may not ultimately be responsible for Monica’s injuries, but he is certainly entitled to the fair trial of which he was deprived.”

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