BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — An attorney for Brandon Regional Hospital offered to discharge the medical bills of a patient who died if his daughter agreed not to talk publicly about the case that involves a doctor accused of malpractice.
Keith Davis, 62, of Brandon, went to Brandon Regional in 2020 with a sore leg but died days later from what an autopsy determined was a 9-inch blood clot that Dr. Rathinam Krishnamoorthy did not detect.
A Florida Department of Health investigation determined there was probable cause that Krishnamoorthy committed medical malpractice when he failed to treat the fatal clot. Krishnamoorthy has the right to request an administrative hearing on the findings.
Neither Krishnamoorthy nor his attorney have responded to requests for comment.
In an email to Davis’ daughter Sabrina, hospital attorney Tracy Falkowitz said her father’s medical bills would be discharged if she signed a “confidentiality agreement and a non-disparagement agreement.”
Davis has been critical of the hospital and the Florida Wrongful Death Act that does not allow children 25 years or older to sue for malpractice in the death of a single parent. The law also does not allow parents to sue for malpractice in the death of a child 25 years or older.
Davis said she did not accept the hospital’s offer.
“It’s painful and it’s financially, emotionally exhausting,” Davis said. “I won’t stop talking about what happened until they change the law.”
Brandon Regional spokesperson Brandi Ponsler said the hospital had no comment on the offer made to Davis.
State Representative Mike Beltran, who represents parts of the Tampa Bay area and is in favor of changing the law, said hospitals are not allowed to collect on bills in cases involving malpractice.
“This hospital has been trying to collect their medical bills from my constituent for the very service that constituted medical malpractice that led to his untimely death,” Beltran said. “And I find that appalling.”
During the 2022 session, the bill allowing adult children to sue died in the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee while the one that would allow parents of adult children to sue was passed easily by the House. But State Sen. Danny Burgess, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not allow the legislation to make it onto the chamber floor for a vote.
Burgess, of Zephyrhills, said while he also believes the law should be changed, the proposed legislation would have “opened up a potential ‘Pandora’s box’ to litigation.”
“This law is ready. It has been ready,” Beltran said. “It would not cause a dramatic change in the number of malpractice cases.”
Beltran said the insurance and medical industries are driving the fear in Tallahassee about the impact of changing the Wrongful Death Act.
Both Beltran and Burgess said they expect the bills to resurface next year.
Davis said she did not want to sue to collect a settlement. She wanted answers about her father’s final moments of life.
“When you think about the end of a person’s life and how your loved one might die,” Davis said, “you want to know what happens.”
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