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Gainesville woman fights to change legislation on medical negligence after losing her father

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - One Gainesville woman lost her father to medical malpractice a little over a year ago, now she’s preparing to take her fight to the state’s capitol.

Sabrina Davis’s father, Keith Davis, died at Brandon Regional Hospital in the Tampa area last year.

“His left knee was hot to the touch and he was unable to walk,” said Davis.

She said when her father got to the hospital, he told staff about his blood clot disorder.

“We asked staff multiple times to order an ultra sound to check for a blood clot for my father. My father even stated that his left leg felt like it did when he had a blood clot in his right leg, and staff still declined,” she said.

After five days, staff cleared him to be discharged, but he died that day.

“I had a phone conversation after this happened to my father, and I was screaming and I was crying, and I said ‘Dr. Moorthy do you feel like you did everything you could to help my dad, or could you have done better?’ and he said ‘well I could have done better I wasn’t looking at his whole leg I was only looking at his knee,’ he said those words to me.”

Inspired to make a change, Davis learned more about the law and what it would take to change it.

The Wrongful Death Act was enacted 20 years ago to protect healthcare providers from malpractice suits and rising insurance premiums.

If someone dies due to malpractice, who is an unmarried adult with no minor children, their relatives cannot sue.

“I do not believe the marital status and the age of a person’s child should determine if somebody at fault for medical negligence is going to be held accountable or not,” she said.

Davis said the law discriminates against a wide range of people: disabled adults, widowed seniors, unmarried graduate students, the LGBT community, divorced and widowed adults whose children are no longer minors, any unmarried adult without a child, and part-time Florida residents who are unmarried without a minor child.

State Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson supports the changes.

“For people who treat their profession in a casual way, they won’t like this at all. But what I say is level up. Level up, you’re working with human lives,” said Hinson.

Davis will be at next year’s legislative session in hopes of forever changing the Wrongful Death Act.

TV 20 has reached out to the Florida Medical Association and Florida Hospital Association for comment. Neither have returned our calls.

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