Update: Malpractice Suit Against UF Shands
It's been a long road to retribution and it's not over yet. A jury in Alachua County awarded Lanette Gervato and her family $23 million in December after finding the University of Florida Shands Hospital liable for her severe medical complications.
A judge signed off on that verdict last week, but it could still take years for her to actually receive compensation. In July of 2006 Gervato, a newly married mother of four, underwent a neurological surgery called a coiling procedure at Shands. But a series of mistakes led to massive bleeding in her brain causing a stroke.
Gervato said, "We've been waiting and suffering for so long because of somebody else's mistake. You know you just feel like it's time for somebody to pay for what happened to me."
Gervato has been paralyzed on the left side of her body since the stroke and is unable to care for herself. So her husband Ron Condren had to quit his job to stay home and help.
Condren said, "It pretty much destroyed the rest of her life...I mean she's never gonna walk again. She had 3/4 of her brain removed on one side, memory problems."
Their kids have to stay with other relatives. It's been a never ending struggle for the entire family emotionally and financially. And the ordeal isn't over. The case is in the appeals process.
The family's attorney Gary Cohen said, "The University of Florida and the plaintiff's, us, have filed motions for new trial that are pending in February regarding the liability of the nursing agency Intellistaff."
Cohen said the new trial would not jeopardize the award of $23 million. It would just re-evaluate the liability of the University of Florida in the suit. He said, "The only thing at issue is the liability of the nursing agency and the percentages that they should be held liable in comparison with the University of Florida's negligence."
Depending on the outcome of that appeal, the earliest the case could go to the legislature to approve payment would be August 2012. And the claim bill process to bypass the $200 thousand payment cap, because UF Shands is a state university, is no small matter.
All the while, Gervato and her family are waiting for justice. Condren said, "We don't know when it's gonna end. We wish it would end soon."
Cohen said he hopes to speed up the process for compensation by making an agreement with the University of Florida for payment to the family. The university has no comment at this time.
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