In 2004, 81% of Florida residents voted to approve Amendment 7, also known as the “Patients’ Right-to-Know About Adverse Medical Incidents.” This amendment was a huge step towards transparency in medicine and represented a huge change in both legislation and public policy in the state of Florida.
How the System Used to Work
Prior to the adoption of Amendment 7, patients did not always retain the right to know about a healthcare provider’s adverse medical incidents. Instead, a veil of privacy known as a Peer Review Board protected medical errors and negligent doctors. The medical profession policed itself and this gave them an undue degree of authority that seemingly made them immune in cases of serious medical error and negligence.
It was argued that this immunity from discovery and fear of litigation would allow doctors and medical professionals the freedom to deliver first-class healthcare. Unfortunately, this was not the case. If you have questions or concerns pertaining to a medical malpractice case as it might relate to Amendment 7, don’t hesitate to contact a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney at our office.
Under Amendment 7, Florida patients have a right to access “any records made or received in the course of business by a healthcare facility or provider relating to adverse medical incidents.” While this includes those incidents that are already required by state and federal law to be reported, Amendment 7 encompasses much more.
The amendment includes the discovery of any document of:
- Medical negligence
- Intentional misconduct
- Any act of negligence that could have caused injury or death to a patient
It is important to note that Amendment 7 only pertains to records. Physicians who are participating in peer review cannot be compelled to testify regarding peer review matters.
Florida has taken a huge step towards protecting patients and trying to improve the transparency of medicine in the Sunshine State. Patients have a right to know whom they are choosing as a physician or a healthcare facility and how safe those facilities truly are. Negligent physicians and healthcare facilities should not be allowed to hide behind Peer Review Boards, and in Florida they are no longer allowed to.
Even though Amendment 7 has improved the laws of transparency for patients, many doctors and hospitals still refuse the discovery of their internal documents. When this occurs, you need an experienced and skilled Florida medical malpractice law firm on your side to protect your right to know.
Contact our Florida Medical Incident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or worsened medical condition due to a doctor or medical professional’s negligence, it is important to speak to an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at Kelley/Uustal offer comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel every step of the way and we can help you choose the legal path that is best for you and your family. We believe that negligent doctors and medical professionals should be held accountable for the injuries they have caused. Contact our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys at Kelley/Uustal online or call us at (954) 522-6601. We are here to answer all your questions, protect your family, and help you pursue justice. You will pay no fees until we are able to recover compensation for your injuries.