TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay family is calling on lawmakers to fix a loophole in a Florida law that prevents certain loved ones from suing for medical malpractice.

Lawmakers heard emotional testimony regarding Florida’s Wrongful Death Act (WDA) at Wednesday’s Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meeting.

“I have watched my daughter beg for answers about the last moments of her dad’s life,” Sherry Hunt said.

Hunt’s ex-husband, Keith Davis died about two years ago following a case of alleged medical malpractice in Brandon.

“The autopsy doctor found a 9-inch-long blood clot,” his daughter, Sabrina Davis tearfully told the delegation.

In Florida, if someone dies from medical malpractice, a surviving spouse or minor child (under the age of 25) can sue to recover damages to pay for their losses.

Keith Davis, left. (Source: Sabrina Davis)

Hunt was not eligible to bring wrongful death action on behalf of Davis since they were no longer married. His daughter could not file a complaint since she is older than 25, and her father was unmarried when he died.

The Florida Department of Health would later find probable cause Doctor Rathinam Krishnamoorthy allegedly committed malpractice in Davis’s case.

His punishment in the settlement agreement included a $7,500 dollar fine and reimbursement for the costs of reviewing his practice, up to $4,216 dollars along with 13 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME). Krishnamoorthy has declined multiple requests for comment.

“It was great the Department of Health found there was malpractice,” Davis said. “But it kills me inside to know how they can put a price on his life and that this doctor is still practicing.”

In recent years, the House has passed multiple bills to change the 30-year-law, only for them to die in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican and former head of the committee said although he understood the families’ frustration, he worried passing the measures would open a floodgate of litigation. Burgess did not comment more in depth at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I think we’ve said all that needs to be said on that one,” he said.

Now that the committee has a new chairman, Jacksonville Republican Clay Yarborough, there is growing optimism about efforts to change the law.

“[He] was a House Rep. last year and he voted yes to end this law,” Davis said of Yarborough.

Senator Darryl Rouson said he supports the new measures to close the loophole and is optimistic change will come eventually.

“We just keep at it. Progress comes incrementally and it takes a while,” Rouson said. “It took eight years for the seat belt law to pass in Florida. So, I’m not afraid of time.”

Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session will begin on Tuesday, March 7.