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10 of the Largest Malpractice Verdicts in Florida History

These cases highlight the significant impact of medical malpractice and the importance of accountability in the healthcare profession. Please note that this information is based on available online resources and should be verified for accuracy and completeness.

$210 Million Malpractice Verdict in Sarasota.

In 2023, a Sarasota jury awarded a family over $210 million in damages from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The hospital was found liable for actions leading to a mother committing suicide after she lost custody of her daughter, due to a disputed child abuse report. The 10-year-old daughter was suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, for which it was recommended she undergo ketamine therapy.  The hospital refused ketamine therapy and the hospital staff reported the mother to the state for alleged child abuse.  This report resulted in the child being taken away from her mother for three months. During that time, the mother was so depressed she committed suicide.  Medical witnesses, including CRPS specialists, testified on the benefits of ketamine and the misdiagnosis claims by the defense. The hospital faced multiple allegations, including medical negligence and fraud. In addition to the $210 million in compensatory damages, the jury also imposed $50 million in punitive damages.  The trial highlighted the emotional toll on the family and the complexities of medical decision-making.

$217 Million Malpractice Verdict in Tampa, FL

A patient obtained a $217 million verdict for a stroke misdiagnosis at Tampa University Community Hospital. Initially diagnosed with sinusitis and sent home, the patient’s condition worsened, leading to brain surgery and coma. The patient ended up with permanent brain damage and major physical disability. The patient sued the attending doctor and two physicians’ groups, revealing among other things, that an unlicensed assistant conducted the initial exam. The jury awarded $116.7 million in compensatory damages and $100.1 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are very rare in malpractice cases.

$68.6 Million Dollar Malpractice Verdict following an Electrolyte Imbalance


A young woman in Tampa won a $68.6 million verdict because doctors didn’t take care of her properly. She had a serious health problem where her body didn’t have enough sodium, an important electrolyte needed for your body to function properly.  It was alleged that at the hospital, she received a treatment that made her sodium level go up too fast, which damaged her brain. It was also alleged that the doctors were supposed to give her a special medicine, called desmopressin, which was ordered but never given, resulting in her condition getting even worse. These problems caused her to have permanent brain damage, leaving her bedridden and minimally responsive.  She was only 20 when this happened.  The trial took 14 days and focused on what caused her brain damage. The case demonstrates the importance of doctors and nurses communicating well with each other, and also reading the patient’s medical chart carefully.

$33.8 Million Recovery for Baby With Severe Birth Injuries

In South Florida, a doctor was found to be at fault for not performing a cesarian section in time when the fetus was showing signs of fetal distress during labor and delivery.   Instead, he left the mom alone a lot and even talked to his stockbroker once. When the baby was finally born, he sustained brain damage from a lack of oxygen.  The court said the doctor should not have given the mom Pitocin to strengthen her contractions, because it made her contractions too strong, cutting off oxygen. This lack of oxygen can cause a condition called Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), which can lead to serious brain damage and problems like seizures, learning delays, and trouble with thinking and remembering.  The baby will need around the clock and very expensive medical care for the rest of his life. The family recovered $33.8 million to help with these lifetime expenses.

$21.6 Million Malpractice Verdict in Breast Cancer Case

A nurse from Port-au-Prince, dedicated her life to medical service in Haiti and South Florida. During her missions, she taught women breast self-examination techniques to detect cancer early. She discovered a lump in her own breast that was misdiagnosed as benign by multiple doctors. The delayed diagnosis of her inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form, led to a $21.6 million medical malpractice verdict in her favor.

$21 Million Awarded to Family for Death from Narcotic

A patient died after receiving multiple doses of the painkiller Dilaudid while in a hospital. A Palm Beach County jury found his doctor liable, awarding $20 million to the patient’s wife and child for failing to adequately monitor him during treatment for acute pancreatitis. The patient’s widow, reflecting on their ten-year marriage and their time together as parents, expressed that no amount of money could compensate for the loss of her husband. The case highlighted the importance of taking a thorough patient history and monitoring, especially when administering potent narcotics like Dilaudid. The oversight first led to irreversible brain damage and ultimately, the patient’s death. The verdict serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for vigilance and following proper care standards in the practice of medicine.

$15.9 Million Awarded for Multiple Amputations

A Broward County jury awarded a patient $15.9 million for medical malpractice. At 26, the patient had to undergo multiple amputations due to allegedly due to her doctor’s negligence.  Suffering from an autoimmune disease, the patient was admitted for a flare-up causing severe pain and foot ulcerations. The condition, linked to blood vessel inflammation, required prompt treatment with Cytoxan, which the doctor failed to administer. This oversight led to a rapid decline in the patient’s medical condition.  She was transferred to another hospital with gangrene, where she underwent life-saving Cytoxan treatment but still lost parts of her limbs. Now dependent on prosthetics, she endures constant phantom pain and the psychological impact of her ordeal.

$13 Million Verdict Following Blindness in One Eye

A Miami jury ordered Leon Medical Centers to pay $13 million after a cataract operation left him blind in one eye. The 80-year-old patient was one of 13 patients alleging that the ophthalmologist, under contract with the Centers, used an incorrect antibiotic during surgery. Despite Leon Medical Centers’ claim of no responsibility due to the doctor’s independent contractor status, the jury held the company responsible, finding that the Center had acted as if the doctor was their employee, causing the patient and the public to assume he was.  This case highlights the accountability of medical institutions for the actions of their associated practitioners.

$12 Million Settlement in South Florida FTCA Case

In a significant medical malpractice case in South Florida, attorneys Scott McMillen and Richard “Bo” Sharp secured a $12 million settlement under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States of America. This case centered around a nurse midwife’s alleged failure to act on critical signs of fetal distress during labor and delivery, leading to the baby’s severe brain injury and cerebral palsy. The case was filed against the United States government because the nurse midwife was employed by the U.S. government at the time.  Although this was a settlement rather than a verdict, this settlement is believed to be the highest malpractice settlement in Florida against the United States under the FTCA.  Because much of the settlement money was invested in annuities, to be paid by periodic payments of principal and tax-free interest over the life of the child, the total payout will be many times the amount of the initial $12 million settlement.

$7.92 Million Verdict Arising from Erroneous Medication Change

A 73-year-old patient’s vibrant life was halted by a stroke after doctors discontinued her regular medication. Despite two decades of managing the patient’s heart disease and atrial fibrillation with the blood thinner Coumadin, her treatment was inexplicably switched to aspirin. This change was made even though a pacemaker check revealed over 40,000 episodes of intermittent atrial fibrillation.  The change from Coumadin to aspirin led to a stroke due to a blood clot. A Miami jury awarded the patient nearly $7.92 million, finding the cardiologists responsible for medical negligence. The case highlights the dangers of insufficient oversight in patient care and the importance of thorough medical evaluations. The patient now faces a life substantially altered by disability and continuous care needs.

Special Note:  A “verdict” is the amount awarded by a jury at the end of a trial, but there are several reasons why that amount might not be paid.  It may be uncollectable because the defendant doesn’t have that much money and there is not enough malpractice insurance coverage to pay the full amount.  The amount awarded by the jury may be lowered by the trial judge after post-trial motions challenging the amount as excessive (called “remititur”).  The trial outcome may be reversed by an appellate court and the verdict taken away.  If the case is appealed, the parties may agree to settle the case for less than the full jury verdict to avoid having to wait for a lengthy appeal process to conclude, which can sometimes take a couple of years.  Remember also that “verdicts” are different from “settlements.” When a case is settled for a certain amount, the money is actually paid to conclude the matter once and for all.  Finally, remember every case is unique.  While the cases described above can be informative of possible outcomes, your mileage definitely may vary.

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