Florida Senate - 2020                              (NP)    SB 10
       By Senator Flores
       39-00216-20                                             202010__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Rafael Rodriguez by the
    3         Hendry County Hospital Authority; providing for an
    4         appropriation to compensate Rafael Rodriguez for
    5         injuries sustained as a result of the negligence of
    6         employees of the Hendry County Hospital Authority;
    7         providing a limitation on the payment of attorney
    8         fees; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, on September 30, 2007, Rafael Rodriguez was
   11  admitted to the emergency room at Hendry Regional Medical Center
   12  (HRMC), a hospital owned and operated by Hendry County Hospital
   13  Authority, and was diagnosed with perforated diverticulitis, and
   14         WHEREAS, general surgeon Dr. Ramon Leonard Carroll, Jr., an
   15  HRMC employee, ordered treatment with IV antibiotics in lieu of
   16  a colostomy, and hospitalist Dr. Hans Louis Charles, an HRMC
   17  employee, acceded to Dr. Carroll’s nonsurgical care plan, and
   18         WHEREAS, a CT scan of Mr. Rodriguez’s pelvis and abdomen
   19  showed evidence of a perforated sigmoid diverticulum, and Dr.
   20  Carroll concluded that Mr. Rodriguez’s symptoms and radiological
   21  findings showed free intraperitoneal air around the colon,
   22  evidencing a perforated diverticulum, and
   23         WHEREAS, after 2 days of antibiotic treatment, Dr. Charles
   24  sought a surgical consult with Dr. Carroll, advising him that
   25  the IV antibiotics were not working to treat the perforated
   26  diverticulum, and the doctors made the joint negligent decision
   27  to treat Mr. Rodriguez expectantly with nonsurgical care, and
   28         WHEREAS, a second CT scan of Mr. Rodriguez’s abdomen and
   29  pelvis revealed a 100 percent perforation with fistula formation
   30  and no resolution of the infection, and Dr. Charles and Dr.
   31  Carroll agreed to continue to treat Mr. Rodriguez nonsurgically,
   32  even though Dr. Charles recommended immediate surgical
   33  intervention in his progress notes, and
   34         WHEREAS, Dr. Charles transferred Mr. Rodriguez’s care to
   35  hospitalist Dr. Prashant Barakoti, an HRMC employee, while
   36  noting in his progress reports that a CT scan was done on
   37  October 7, 2007, which showed a pelvic abscess 4.6 by 5.8 cm
   38  with a prominent air fluid level in the pelvis, and
   39         WHEREAS, despite Mr. Rodriguez having a continuing
   40  infection that required ongoing medical treatment, Dr. Carroll
   41  discharged Mr. Rodriguez from HRMC to his home without operating
   42  on or draining the pelvic abscess, and after only 3 days, Mr.
   43  Rodriguez was readmitted to the emergency room at HRMC with
   44  complaints of severe middle back pain, abdominal pain, and a
   45  fever, and
   46         WHEREAS, Dr. Barakoti transferred care back to Dr. Charles,
   47  who continued medical management and still did not recommend
   48  surgical intervention, and
   49         WHEREAS, Dr. Carroll performed a surgical consult, noting
   50  Mr. Rodriguez’s complaints of lower back pain and fever, and
   51  determined that Mr. Rodriguez had a ruptured diverticulum with
   52  small abscess formation in the pelvis, and
   53         WHEREAS, Dr. Carroll decided to go along with Dr.
   54  Barakoti’s plan of care to merely monitor Mr. Rodriguez, failing
   55  to recommend draining the abscess and surgically repairing the
   56  ruptured diverticulum, and
   57         WHEREAS, Mr. Rodriguez’s blood cultures obtained while in
   58  the emergency room were found to be positive for Klebsiella
   59  pneumoniae, but Dr. Charles failed to recommend draining the
   60  abscess and surgically repairing the ruptured diverticulum or to
   61  transfer Mr. Rodriguez to another hospital for drainage and
   62  surgical intervention, even with the overwhelming evidence that
   63  surgical intervention was necessary, and
   64         WHEREAS, Dr. Charles ordered Mr. Rodriguez to be started on
   65  IV Rocephin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and Dilaudid every 4
   66  to 6 hours for severe back pain and ordered additional blood
   67  cultures, which came back positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae,
   68  and, at the time, Mr. Rodriguez’s white blood cell count was
   69  elevated at 16,400 with increased polys, and
   70         WHEREAS, on October 20, 2007, Mr. Rodriguez started to
   71  complain of bilateral inner thigh pain, difficulty walking, and
   72  incontinence, and showed signs of a worsening neurological
   73  condition, and
   74         WHEREAS, an MRI machine, which would have revealed the
   75  presence of the early stages of an epidural abscess, was
   76  unavailable, but Dr. Charles continued to treat Mr. Rodriguez
   77  medically rather than transfer him to another hospital with an
   78  available MRI and surgical staff who would have surgically
   79  intervened, and
   80         WHEREAS, Dr. Charles failed to perform any motor or sensory
   81  testing and, despite suspecting spinal stenosis, failed to
   82  recommend an immediate surgical intervention or transfer to a
   83  medical center with an orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon,
   84  and
   85         WHEREAS, Mr. Rodriguez developed neck and low back pain
   86  despite receiving narcotic pain medications and was suffering
   87  from loose and bloody bowel movements, and Dr. Charles advised
   88  Mr. Rodriguez that he would need to be transferred to another
   89  facility but failed to arrange the transfer, and instead
   90  dictated a discharge summary, planning to send Mr. Rodriguez
   91  home with white cells at 19,000, a temperature of 100.6 degrees,
   92  and being incapable of standing or walking, and
   93         WHEREAS, hospitalist Dr. Lopez-Cespedes, another HRMC
   94  employee, was present when Mr. Rodriguez felt no sensation from
   95  the umbilical area down, was unable to move his lower
   96  extremities, and had weak upper arm movements, and Dr. Lopez
   97  Cespedes noted that Mr. Rodriguez had decreased muscle strength
   98  and sensory perception and noted a positive blood culture and
   99  yeast in the blood, but did not immediately arrange for Mr.
  100  Rodriguez to be transferred to another facility, and
  101         WHEREAS, on October 23, 2007, Mr. Rodriguez began
  102  complaining of a tingling sensation in both hands, and Dr.
  103  Lopez-Cespedes noted that Mr. Rodriguez was unable to move his
  104  legs and continued to have significant decreased sensation to
  105  the level T10-T11, and
  106         WHEREAS, an MRI of Mr. Rodriguez’s lumbar spine was finally
  107  performed, showing an epidural collection anteriorly to the
  108  thecal sac in the thoracic spine and lumbar spine, and Mr.
  109  Rodriguez was finally transferred and admitted to Jupiter
  110  Medical Center under the care of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Katzman,
  111  who diagnosed Mr. Rodriguez with an epidural abscess and an
  112  unoperated perforated sigmoid colon, and
  113         WHEREAS, Mr. Rodriguez underwent a decompressive
  114  laminectomy at C1-C6 with the evacuation of an epidural abscess,
  115  an exploratory laparoscopic drainage of multiple abscesses,
  116  sigmoid resection and colostomy, and small bowel resection, and
  117         WHEREAS, today, Mr. Rodriguez is a quadriplegic due to the
  118  failure of and delay in emergent treatment by HRMC employees,
  119  and he does not have an attendant care assistant for his daily
  120  activities, instead relying on a friend with an intellectual
  121  disability who lives in his trailer with him and who has no
  122  medical training, and
  123         WHEREAS, a tort claim was filed on behalf of Mr. Rodriguez
  124  in the Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit in and for
  125  Hendry County, and the Hendry County Hospital Authority agreed
  126  to amicably settle this matter with the entry of a consent
  127  judgment in the amount of $7.6 million, and
  128         WHEREAS, the Hendry County Hospital Authority has paid the
  129  statutory limit of $100,000 to Mr. Rodriguez, pursuant to s.
  130  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the authority has agreed to fully
  131  cooperate and promote the passage of this claim bill in the
  132  amount of $7.5 million, NOW, THEREFORE,
  134  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  136         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
  137  found and declared to be true.
  138         Section 2.  The Hendry County Hospital Authority is
  139  authorized and directed to appropriate from funds of the
  140  authority not otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant in the
  141  amount of $7.5 million payable to Rafael Rodriguez as
  142  compensation for injuries and damages sustained as a result of
  143  the negligence of employees of the Hendry County Hospital
  144  Authority.
  145         Section 3. The amount paid by the Hendry County Hospital
  146  Authority pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
  147  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
  148  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
  149  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
  150  injuries and damages to Rafael Rodriguez. The total amount paid
  151  for attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25
  152  percent of the amount awarded under this act.
  153         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.