A Broward County jury assessed “strikes” against a doctor and
an anesthesiologist who were involved in a medical procedure that left
Dale Whyte, 33, with permanent brain injuries. Whyte, who went through
a Manipulation under Anesthesia procedure at the Atlantic Surgical Center
in Pompano Beach in December of 2008, never awoke from his anesthesia.
According to Robert W. Kelley, Whyte’s lawyer, this verdict is the
first of its kind since the “Three-Strikes” amendment was
passed by voters in 2004. Dale Whyte and his family also received $38.5
million dollars to compensate for their losses.
Dr. Basil Mangra, the doctor in charge of Whyte’s care, and anesthesiologist
Dr. Thomas Rodenberg, were found guilty by the jury of negligence leading
to the injury. Mangra admitted during the trial that the patient never
should have been cleared for the procedure. Both doctors received career-threatening
“strikes” under the Three Strikes Amendment, and Rodenberg’s
medical license was suspended.
This verdict was described by Kelley as a great victory for patient safety,
and plans were immediately made to present the results of the case to
the Florida Board of Medicine. Kelley intends to collect the full amount
of the verdict by collecting the full amount of the doctors’ insurance
money as well as going after them personally for the remaining balance.
Whyte is now in the care of his sister, mother, and a team of nurses at
their home in Lawrenceville, GA. Prior to the trial, his family entered
into confidential settlements with other defendants who had a part in
Florida voters passed the “Three Strikes” amendment, also known
as Amendment 8, in 2004. Under this amendment, doctors can now have their
medical licenses revoked if they are found guilty of medical malpractice
three times. The Florida Medical Association urged in 2005 that the legislature
pass a law restricting the amendment by requiring proof of “clear
and convincing” evidence before a jury’s verdict could result
in a strike against a physician.