Florida Hospital Association Eyes ER Supreme Court Case

Jul 29, 2019

The Florida Hospital Association will weigh in as the state Supreme Court considers whether a hospital can be liable for treatment provided by emergency-room doctors who are independent contractors. 

The Supreme Court on Friday approved a request from the association to file a a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Doctors Hospital in a Miami-Dade County case. The Supreme Court this week agreed to take up the case, which involves the 2013 death of Suyima Torres, who was taken by ambulance to Doctors Hospital after she became unconscious following a cosmetic procedure at a Miami clinic.

Torres, 28, was treated in the hospital’s emergency room and intensive-care unit but died several hours later. Torres’ estate filed a lawsuit against the hospital and the emergency-room providers, who were independent contractors and not hospital employees.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in March that the hospital could not be held liable for treatment provided by the contractors, prompting the estate to ask the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

In seeking to file the brief, the hospital association said it can “illuminate the importance of allowing hospitals to independently contract with physicians and other healthcare providers without the threat of lawsuits imposing liability for the actions of those independent contractors.”