In December 2017, a Florida physician examined a patient who presented with coughing and shortness of breath. Based on the absence of abnormal findings in the testing, the physician diagnosed the patient with allergies. However, years later, when the patient sought treatment at a hospital in another state, a very rare cancerous tumor was discovered. Tragically, the patient passed away in 2021 after undergoing open-heart surgery.
Following the patient’s demise, the decedent’s father filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), alleging that the physician failed to order a chest x-ray. Consequently, the DOH initiated an investigation into potential violations of the Medical Practice Act, specifically regarding the physician practicing below the standard of care.
Attorney Sara Bazzigaluppi was retained by the physician to defend against the DOH investigation. She was able to confirm that our client had only seen the decedent on a single occasion, where she was presenting with the above-mentioned symptoms.
Due to the decedent’s age and her symptoms, our client did not believe that ordering a chest x-ray was medically necessary after the singular visit. Therefore, this supported our defense that our physician client made a proper assessment.
After reviewing the DOH’s investigative file, the Probable Cause Panel (“PCP”) opted to dismiss the case, only issuing our client a Letter of Guidance. The Letter of Guidance functions as a ‘warning’ to our client meaning that there is no disciplinary action against the physician’s license, and that her case will remain confidential.
Areas of Law:
DOH & LARA Investigations/Complaints
Medical License Defense
This information is a sample of our past results. Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results. Every case is different and each case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits. The circumstances of your case may differ from the results provided. The information provided has not been reviewed or approved by the State Bar.