Florida House & Senate discuss if it should be legal to kill (medically) in Florida
Literally speaking, in the State of Florida it is legal to kill by medical negligence, but only if the victim is age 25 or older, has no minor children, and is not married. As unethical as it sounds, Florida Statute 768.21, subsection 8 provides an opening for such occurrences. This little-known law closes the door that allows recompense for wrongful death in other forms (eg. car accident, police accident, etc.) only for the family of the wrongfully deceased with respect to medically negligent death for this class of people. In effect, hospitals are allowed to self-regulate since the law creates a scenario that makes it impossible for a family to take a hospital or medical provider to court if a negligent act on their part causes death to a victim in this class. We refer to these victims as "Free Kills." Florida is the only state with a law like this. With a growing senior population, each newly transplanted retiree is at risk, specifically those who are single or widowed.
Because to save the victim post medical error could lead to a costly lawsuit, but to let them die is free.
In the current 2021 session two politicians have filed a bill to repeal a portion of this law. The portion that they have filed to repeal pertains only to the loss of adult children or when a parent loses a child over age 25 that is single and childless. While we see this as a big step in righting a long term ongoing immoral law, it leads us to the question, why not repeal this for all of those classified as a Florida Free Kill? Are all of our lives not equally valued? #FloridaLivesMatter
Wrongful death by medical negligence is currently the most underreported category of death in the United States. If we take a look at the numbers that are actually reported, it is the third leading cause of death in this country behind cancer and heart disease. Medical malpractice insurance lobbyists attend every Tallahassee hearing involving this statute, they repeatedly shut down any proposed change and each time state that medical malpractice insurance would rise in cost and doctors would leave the state. Since this law is not in place in any other state, one has to wonder where doctors who have committed such acts would go to avoid being allowed to get away with causing death by medical negligence. One also has to wonder if this law indeed causes the sunshine state to attract the bottom of the barrel. Is there something wrong with a doctor who has repeated offenses having an increase in premiums? Would it not cause positive outcomes (for example re-education and attention to not repeating deadly mistakes)? In the United States, financial penalties are the most common form of punishment and are intended to sway offenders from repeating mistakes. As long as committing negligent acts that cause death goes unchecked, none of us are safe. This infringes upon our right to life.
Here is how you can help
The legislative session runs each year only for a short time. This year, by mid-March all bills will be heard, a decision made, and the books closed for another year. We need to reach the legislators that have opened the door to such positive change that affects the lives of millions of Floridians. Unfortunately, they are very hard people to reach. But if we each pick up the phone, even if only a percentage of us gets through, our voices can be heard.
The two Bills that have been filed (House Bill 651 and Senate Bill 1112) request a repeal of the Free Kill law for adult children only. While this will benefit millions of Floridians, and doctors will be held accountable for the deaths of young adults as their parents will then be able to file suit if such atrocities occur, both Bills miss on repealing the law for the parents. The middle-aged divorcee and elderly widow will remain at risk. The only way that we can get a full repeal of Statute 768.21 subsection 8 is to request it. Please join us.
One voice, many phone calls
Two legislators have filed companion Bills
In the Florida Senate:
Call the sponsor of SB 1112, Senator Rodriguez, and ask if she would kindly consider putting all Floridian lives ahead of politics by striking the entire subsection 8, which would also allow the families (the children) of medically negligent death victims to have access to a court of law. In Tallahassee her office number is: (850) 487-5039. In her home area of Doral, her office number is (305) 470-2552.
Senator Rodriguez is a Florida native who was formerly in the House of Representatives. She has a long history of serving the people. Rodriguez graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. She earned a B.S. in communications from Florida International University in 1999 and an M.S. in leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2009. Rodriguez's career experience includes working as the senior vice president of Miami Realtors. She has served with Autism Speaks Miami Walk.
In the Florida House of Representatives:
Call the sponsor of HB 651, House Representative Roach, and ask if he would kindly consider putting all Floridian lives ahead of politics by striking the entire subsection 8, which would also allow the families (the children) of medically negligent death victims to have access to a court of law. In Tallahassee, his office number is (850) 717-5079. In his home area of Fort Meyers, his number is (239) 656-7790.
House Representative Spencer Roach is a newcomer to the Florida legislature. Spencer Roach was born in Louisiana. Roach served in the United Coast Guard from 1996-2016. He was deployed to the Middle East. Roach received his associate degree from Edison Community College, his B.A. in political science from Florida Gulf Coast University, and his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. His career experience includes being a judge advocate