Florida Senate - 2017 (NP) SB 316 By Senator Rodriguez 37-00486-17 2017316__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Vonshelle Brothers, 3 individually, and as the natural parent and legal 4 guardian of Iyonna Hughey; providing an appropriation 5 to compensate her and her daughter for injuries and 6 damages sustained as a result of the alleged 7 negligence of the Brevard County Health Department, an 8 agency of the Department of Health; providing that 9 certain payments and the appropriation satisfy all 10 present and future claims related to the alleged 11 negligent acts; providing a limitation on the payment 12 of compensation, fees, and costs; providing an 13 effective date. 14 15 WHEREAS, on March 16, 2010, Vonshelle Brothers visited a 16 location of the Brevard County Health Department for her initial 17 prenatal visit, during which a complete obstetrical and 18 gynecological exam was conducted, including a Pap smear, and 19 WHEREAS, the lab results of the exam were reported to be 20 within normal limits with the exception of the Pap smear, which 21 had tested negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy, 22 but showed cellular changes consistent with herpes simplex virus 23 and bacterial vaginosis, and 24 WHEREAS, despite the results of the Pap smear, the Brevard 25 County Health Department did not report the results to Vonshelle 26 Brothers and did not acknowledge, record, or otherwise note the 27 herpes simplex virus or the bacterial vaginosis in her prenatal 28 records, and 29 WHEREAS, Vonshelle Brothers continued to receive treatment 30 from the Brevard County Health Department through the duration 31 of her pregnancy until the birth of her daughter, Iyonna Hughey, 32 on October 14, 2010, at the Wuesthoff Medical Center, and both 33 were discharged from the hospital 2 days later in good 34 condition, and 35 WHEREAS, on November 1, 2010, Vonshelle Brothers brought 36 Iyonna to the emergency room at Wuesthoff Medical Center citing 37 Iyonna’s lack of eating, weak condition, and fever, and 38 WHEREAS, a lumbar puncture was performed and cerebral 39 spinal fluid was collected which initially suggested that Iyonna 40 had meningitis, which prompted her transfer to the Arnold Palmer 41 Hospital for Children for further evaluation and management, and 42 WHEREAS, on November 3, 2010, the final results of the 43 cerebral spinal fluid collection were reported, and the fluid 44 had tested positive for herpes simplex type 2, and 45 WHEREAS, as a result of her diagnosis, Iyonna continues to 46 experience significant developmental delay and neurologic 47 impairment related to the herpes meningoencephalitis and has 48 required continued treatment, including physical therapy, 49 occupational and speech therapy, and neurologic and 50 ophthalmologic care, and 51 WHEREAS, Iyonna’s condition requires her to be under the 52 constant care and supervision of Vonshelle Brothers and has 53 placed the child at heightened risk for the development of 54 seizures and epilepsy, and 55 WHEREAS, the Brevard County Health Department had a duty to 56 provide a reasonable level of care to Vonshelle Brothers and 57 Iyonna Hughey but that duty was allegedly breached by the 58 department failing to disclose the presence of the herpes 59 simplex virus in Vonshelle Brothers and to order proper 60 treatment of the virus, which eventually resulted in Iyonna’s 61 diagnosis, and 62 WHEREAS, in June 2016, a final order was entered approving 63 a settlement in the sum of $3.2 million between Vonshelle 64 Brothers, individually, and as natural parent and legal guardian 65 of Iyonna Hughey, and the Brevard County Health Department to 66 settle all claims arising out of the factual situation described 67 in this act, and 68 WHEREAS, the Department of Health has paid $200,000 to Ms. 69 Brothers under the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 70 768.28, Florida Statutes, which has left $3 million as the 71 remaining balance of the settlement agreement, NOW, THEREFORE, 72 73 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 74 75 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 76 found and declared to be true. 77 Section 2. The sum of $3 million is appropriated from the 78 General Revenue Fund to the Department of Health for the relief 79 of Vonshelle Brothers, individually, and as natural parent and 80 legal guardian of Iyonna Hughey, to compensate Vonshelle 81 Brothers and Iyonna Hughey for injuries and damages sustained. 82 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 83 a warrant in favor of Vonshelle Brothers, individually and as 84 natural parent and legal guardian of Iyonna Hughey, in the sum 85 of $3 million upon funds of the Department of Health in the 86 State Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the 87 State Treasury. 88 Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of Health 89 pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded 90 under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for 91 all present and future claims arising out of the factual 92 situation described in this act which resulted in injuries and 93 damages to Vonshelle Brothers and Iyonna Hughey. The total 94 amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and similar 95 expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the 96 amount awarded under this act. 97 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.