WOMAN SETTLES LAWSUIT AGAINST SOUTH BROWARD HOSPITAL DISTRICT AND DANIA WOMEN’S CENTER IN SPINA BIFIDA CASE
SOUTH BROWARD HOSPITAL DISTRICT HIDES BEHIND SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY LAW, SAYS VICTIM’S ATTORNEY
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The parents of a young girl born with the birth defect spina bifida have settled their malpractice claims against both the South Broward Hospital District, as well as the Dania Women’s Center, owned and managed by the district.
Roy Oppenheim of the Weston, Florida-based law firm of Oppenheim Pilelsky and his co-counsel, Alan Rosenberg said the parents agreed to settle for $412,500 rather than try to collect more through a lengthy process that would involve a special act of the Florida Legislature.
“The hospital district is protected through sovereign immunity, which they used as a shield rather than take responsibility,” Oppenheim said. Under those laws, the district only had to pay $100,000. The rest of the settlement came from the radiologist’s malpractice carrier. “The money won’t begin to pay for a lifetime of care, unfortunately,” Oppenheim said.
The case dates back to October 1998 when the woman, then only eight weeks pregnant, went to the Dania center for a routine visit and exam. According to depositions taken in the case, tests showed possible abnormalities in the developing fetus, but the she was never notified until late February, 1999 – a startling five months later, when she was in her final trimester.
“The district’s response then was to try to get my client to go to Kansas, which was one of the only states that would perform late-term abortions,” Oppenheim said. Pregnancies that late are against Florida law. The woman’s husband said he turned that down because he was advised the procedure could endanger his wife’s health.
Just two months later, the mother gave birth to the girl, who continues to suffer from spina bifida and other birth defects. Spina Bifida results from the failure of the spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. In severe cases, the spinal cord protrudes through the back and may be covered by skin or a thin membrane. Children with the defect can suffer everything from bowel and bladder problems, to paralysis and mental retardation.
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Roy Oppenheim is a partner in Oppenheim Pilelsky, the most established law firm in Weston, Florida, along with his wife Ellen Pilelsky. Oppenheim Pilelsky is a general practice concentrating real estate, personal injury, medical malpractice, and consumer related matters. The firm sued Firestone Tire & Rubber Company on behalf of all Florida residents who have been subject to the recall of defective tires. Oppenheim Pilelsky is located at: 1290 Weston Road, Suite 300, Weston, FL 33326 (954) 384-6114 or 1-888-384-6114. Oppenheim Pilelsky can also be found at www.oppenheimlaw.com and www.westontitle.com.
Contact: Todd Templin, or Julie Silver at Boardroom Communications, 954-370-8999, for Oppenheim Pilelsky