At the beginning of this year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a presumption of negligence is applicable in cases in which a foreign object is unintentionally left in a surgical patient, even if there is no direct evidence of medical negligence. Prior to this ruling, a federal appeals court had held that a plaintiff was not entitled to the presumption of negligence if no direct evidence of negligence existed.
In the case at hand, a man was admitted to the hospital for colon cancer surgery. After the surgery, it was discovered through a CT scan that a four-inch piece of a broken drainage tube had been left inside the patient’s body. The patient and his wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital.
A medical malpractice lawsuit is a civil claim that is intended to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause to a patient. Such a claim makes sense when a medical professional fails to adhere to the acceptable standard of care. In Florida, a medical professional should use “the level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent, similar healthcare providers under similar circumstances.” In other words, a medical professional’s actions should be consistent with what a competent medical professional in the same specialty would have done in the same situation.