What's Up With the Bill to End Free Kill? HB 6051
Several advocates, who are families of Free Kill victims, joined me in taking a trip to Tallahassee to see if we could educate legislators on Florida's Free Kill law and help HB 6051 move forward. These people are dedicated to making a difference for all Floridians, and it was really nice to spend time with people who started out as like minded strangers and have them become new friends.
It was an honor to meet with Florida House Representative Emily Slosberg, who submitted HB 6051 to repeal Florida's Free Kill law completely. She actually falls into the Free Kill category herself, as do several other Florida House Representatives. We appreciate that Rep Slosberg is interested in putting the people first and doing what is good for the people.
While in Tallahassee we also met with many other Representatives. For HB 6051 to pass, it has to be voted on by three committees; The Civil Justice Committee, The Insurance and Banking Committee and The Judiciary Committee. We spoke with everyone that we could and learned a little bit about some of the Reps who are both for and oppose a repeal.
Last year, House Rep Bob Rommel (R), of Collier County, voice voted down an amendment on a Med Mal Bill to repeal Florida's Free Kill. We understand that he still opposes this cause. He is the chairman of the Civil Justice Committee and the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee. One of his responsibilities is to make the agenda of what will be heard. To date, he has not added HB 6051 to the agenda.
We have started a letter writing campaign to a purchased list of Bob Rommel's voting constituents. Family members of victims who met with him in his Tallahassee office have reported to me that Rep Rommel stated: "You do not need your parents after age 25." and "You do not need to profit off of your son's death." Because of these comments, we feel strongly that he does not understand that Free Kill is a matter of patient safety, accountability, and justice for our loved ones. We also believe from his statements that he does not understand the gravity of the number of populace affected by this law.
Florida Free Kill affects:
Unmarried seniors with no minor children
LGBTQ unwed with no minor children
Mentally disabled adults with no minor children
Literally anyone who is an unmarried adult,
with no minor children
To date, nearly 2,000 letters have been mailed to Rep. Rommel's constituents asking for them to reach out to him. Most of the people who have volunteered to print, address and mail letters are families of Florida Free Kill victims. We have many more to go.
Join us in mailing or handing out letters!
If you wish to mail 10 or more
When a medical error takes place and causes the death of a person in the Free Kill category, the only way the medical provider can be fully investigated and held accountable is by a court of law. AHCA does not have enough authority to perform a complete investigation. Their hands are often tied because they are only allowed to look through the information provided to them by the hospital or medical facility in question.
Florida statute 768.21(8) provides that you can sue for economic damages, but not pain and suffering. In the case of death, the only economic damage present is the cost of a funeral. Funerals can run between $1,500 and $20,000. But the cost to bring a medical case to court is upwards of $50,000 and the potential recovery is much less (the cost of the funeral and nothing more). Would you take a job that you know would cost you time and money? Lawyers must pay filing and other fees to bring forth a case, and in medical error cases also need to have medical charts reviewed by experts, staff interviewed by a non biased source, and expert assistance in presenting the error itself. These are costly endeavors.
Being able to file suit is not about needing your parents, your children nor about money. It is solely about accountability and justice. Without accountability there is no change with respect to the errors committed. Without change, there exists a decrease in the quality of medical care in Florida. The errors are often repeated and more victims die.
Medical Error is the third leading cause of death
in the US today
If you live in Collier County, Florida, and you find this disturbing, we ask that you contact House Representative Bob Rommel. Let him know your thoughts! Your voice is most important to him because you are his voter base.
Time is short and it does not seem that HB 6051 will be heard this year. We can only seize the moment and use the bill to get as much attention and education on this issue as possible. If you have any opportunity for press, please let us know! We have advocates, board members and family members of victims in every corner of the state waiting to be heard.