FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, after a month-long trial, jurors in Broward County assessed career-threatening "strikes" against two local doctors arising out of a medical procedure that left a local man with permanent brain injuries. Dale Whyte, 33, never awoke from anesthesia after he underwent a Manipulation Under Anesthesia at a Pompano Beach surgical center in December of 2008. Whyte's attorney, Robert W. Kelley, said this is the first verdict of its kind since voters passed the "Three-Strikes" amendment to the Florida Constitution in 2004. The jury also awarded $38.5 million dollars to Dale Whyte and his family as compensation for their losses.
Whyte, 33, was a patient of Dr. Basil Mangra when the procedure was performed at Atlantic Surgical Center in Pompano on December 4th, 2008. Dr. Thomas Rodenberg was the anesthesiologist at the time of the procedure. Kelley said Mangra, during the trial, finally admitted for the first time that the MUA procedure should not have been performed on Whyte. Rodenberg's medical license is currently suspended as a result of the Whyte incident. The jury found by "clear and convincing evidence" that both doctors were negligent, thus triggering the Three-Strikes amendment. Kelley called the verdict a victory for patient safety and plans to immediately present the jury's findings to the Florida Board of Medicine. "We intend to collect all of the doctor's insurance money, present the jury's findings to the board of medicine, and then go after these doctors personally to collect the balance of the verdict," said Kelley. Before trial the family had entered into confidential settlements with other defendants involved in the incident, and Whyte is now being cared for by his mother, sister and nurses at their home in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
In 2004, Florida voters passed Amendment 8 known as the "Three Strikes" amendment, under which doctors could lose their medical licenses if found guilty of three incidents of medical malpractice. In 2005, at the urging of the Florida Medical Association, the legislature passed legislation restricting the constitutional amendment by requiring the jury's verdict in a medical malpractice trial to be proved by "clear and convincing" evidence before it would count as a strike against a physician. "The family was determined to obtain a verdict against these doctors by clear and convincing evidence," said Kelley. "Hopefully, the Board of Medicine will act quickly on this matter for the safety of the public."
About the trial
Judge: Honorable Carlos Rodriguez
Court: 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County
Trial Dates: April 18th, 2013 to May 17th, 2013
Whyte's Attorneys: Robert W. Kelley and Bonnie Navin of Kelley Uustal PLC in Fort Lauderdale (954-522-6601) Dr. Mangra's Attorney: Brian Russell, Esq., North Palm Beach, 561-684-6600
Dr. Rodenberg's Attorney: James White, Esq., North Palm Beach, 561-684-6600
SOURCE Kelley Uustal PLC