Florida Supreme Court Rules Doctors Must Be Accountable for Their Actions

A recent Florida Supreme Court ruling may have an impact on how doctors have tried to insulate themselves against medical malpractice claims by employing supportive testimony from a doctor that treats the patient later on the course of treatment. The Jacksonville Business Journal reported, “Because the central concern in medical malpractice actions is the reasonably prudent physician standard, the issue of whether a treating physician acted in a reasonably prudent manner must be determined for each individual physician who is a defendant in a medical malpractice action,” said the majority opinion, written by Justice R. Fred Lewis and joined by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and James E.C. Perry. “A subsequent treating physician simply may not be present at the time a defendant physician makes an allegedly negligent decision or engages in a potentially negligent act. Further, it is not only the final physician, but rather each treating physician who must act in a reasonably prudent manner.” In a medical malpractice case, each treating physician must be held responsible for his or her actions in treating a patient. This is a good ruling that should help protect patients from negligent doctors.