Brandon man’s deadly, undiagnosed 9-inch blood clot provokes call for wrongful death law change

8 On Your Side

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — Keith Davis went to Brandon Regional Hospital with a sore knee and a medical history of blood clots, but his concerns were ignored, according to his daughter.

“I can move [my leg], but I have to help it with my arm,” Davis said in a video he sent to his only child Sabrina. “Like I said, [my foot] still won’t point up. It still hurts really bad.”

Less than three days later, Davis was dead at the age of 62.

“I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m hurt. I relive it every single day,” Davis said. “He was still active. This shouldn’t have happened.”

Documents reviewed by 8 On Your Side include medical records that state Davis “had history” of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the medical term for blood clots.

But Davis said her father claimed no one responded medically to his concerns or his history.

“They said ‘no, no, no. An ultrasound is not needed. This is not a blood clot,'” Sabrina Davis said.

Davis paid for an autopsy that states “a massive 9-inch-long” blood clot in her father’s leg caused his death.

And an investigation report by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) states there was “no documentation…that the [hospital] policy was followed for risk assessment.”

A letter Davis received from AHCA said the agency did an unannounced visit at Brandon Regional in December 2020, about 6 weeks after the death.

“The representative(s) found that rules were violated at the time of our visit,” the letter states. “The facility received a notice of deficiencies and will be required to correct the deficiencies.”

“It was a slap on the wrist,” Davis said. “No accountability. I screamed louder than I’ve ever screamed in my life. I didn’t even know I had it in me.”

In an emailed statement about the case, Brandon Regional spokesperson Brandi Ponsler said “the death of a loved one is always very difficult, and our hearts go out to this family.”

“We are committed to providing high-quality care to our patients and rely on physicians to make medical decisions based on their expertise and each patient’s unique healthcare needs,” Ponsler said. 

As the shock set in, Davis discovered a unique Florida law that does not allow anyone 25 or older to sue for wrongful death of a parent.

Tampa Bay area Republican Danny Burgess is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where one version of a bill to change the law stalled last year. Burgess has not yet responded to requests for comment about what might happen in 2022.

One set of Senate and House bills would strike the wrongful death lawsuit restriction for adult children, while another set of measures would do the the same for parents of adult children, who are also not allowed to recover damages under the current law.

For Davis, it’s about “accountability” that she said she hopes will happen in future wrongful death cases.

“When you violate that oath to the point when it ends in a fatal mistake, you should be held accountable,” Davis said. “And why I can’t pursue accountability? It’s wrong.”

Critics of the proposed bills have said the changes will cause a spike in malpractice insurance rates and impact the cost and quality of medical care, but there is said to be bi-partisan support for the legislation if it can ever make it out of committee.

The new legislative session starts next week.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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