Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Free Consultations 386.258.1622

Florida Fourth DCA rules that lawsuit involving nursing staff’s alleged refusal to allow patient to keep her walker during hospital admission, resulting in fall, was subject to medical negligence presuit requirements

On April 20, 2022, in Martin Memorial Health Systems, Inc., et al. v. Gorham, No. 4D21-2949, the Florida Fourth DCA granted a medical negligence defendant’s certiorari petition and quashed a trial court order denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to comply with Chapter 766’s presuit requirements for medical malpractice actions. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital’s nursing staff refused to allow the patient to keep her walker with during a hospital admission, resulting in a fall that allegedly was a substantial cause of her death. The plaintiff maintained that he was not required to comply with the medical negligence presuit requirements because the case does not sound in medical negligence but is instead an ordinary negligence case. The Fourth DCA observed that to be a claim for medical malpractice, “the act from which the claim arises must be directly related to medical care or services, which require the use of professional judgment or skill,” quoting from Nat’l Deaf Acad., LLC v. Townes, 242 So. 3d 303, 305 (Fla. 2018). The Fourth DCA noted its previous decision in Indian River Memorial Hospital v. Browne, 44 So. 3d 237 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010), in which it ruled a patient’s fall from a stretcher in an emergency room sounded in medical negligence. The Fourth DCA also cited North Broward Hospital District v. Slusher, 279 So. 3d 162 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), in which it reached the same conclusion regarding a nurse who allegedly caused a patient to fall while she was helping him out of bed.