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Court Backs Hospitals In 'Heart-Wrenching' Malpractice Case

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A state appeals court Thursday sided with two South Florida hospitals in a medical-malpractice case involving a child who suffered brain damage after needing emergency care in 2008.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of West Boca Medical Center and Miami Children's Hospital in the lawsuit filed by the parents of Alexis Cantore, who after suffering the brain damage must be fed through a tube and will not be able to live or work independently.

"This is a sad case which emphasizes that bad things sometimes just happen in life and it is nobody's fault,'' said the 10-page ruling, written by Judge William Roby and joined by judges Melanie May and Mark Klingensmith.

In 2006, at age 12, Cantore was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition that involves excess spinal fluid in the cranium, and underwent a procedure to remove a blockage, according to the ruling.

Tests in 2008 indicated the blockage was occurring again, but less than a month before a scheduled procedure, Cantore began having headaches and vomiting. She was taken to West Boca Medical Center and, after her condition worsened, was flown by helicopter ambulance to Miami Children's Hospital.

She underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain but suffered the permanent injury. The family filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County arguing that Cantore had not received proper medical treatment.

A jury ruled in favor of the hospitals, prompting an appeal that focused, at least in part, on a doctor's testimony involving hypothetical questions. But the appeals court upheld the verdict.

"The jury system worked,'' Thursday's ruling said. "For these reasons, and as sad and heart-wrenching as this case may be, judgment for appellees (the hospitals) must be affirmed."