Protect Special-Needs Adults from Florida's "Free Kill" Law

Protect Special-Needs Adults from Florida's "Free Kill" Law

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Marcia Scheppler started this petition to Representative Bob Rommel and

PROBLEM: Florida Statute 768, subsection 8 is part of Florida's "Free Kill" law.  This section states that individuals who are over 25 years old, have no children, and are unmarried are limited to the costs of the funeral and medical bills for liabililty damages. This law is blatantly discriminatory towards persons with special needs who are not able (mentally or physically) to marry and have children.  

JoJo's STORY: 

On September 6, 2019, I took my son, Joseph ("JoJo") to Cleveland Clinic Hospital atTradition in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  JoJo had Down Syndrome, autism, and cognitive disabilities so that he was mentally about 2 years old.  I took him to the ER because he had uncontrolled muscle movements caused by his medication that made him to cough, gag and choke. When we got to the ER, JoJo became afraid, stopped about 10 feet outside the ER doors, and refused go inside. 

As JoJo's mother and guardian advocate, I asked for assistance to bring JoJo in to the ER.  EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act) laws require that anyone within 250 yards of ER doors must be treated.  However, the charge nurse refused to help or allow any one on the staff to help me get JoJo treated.  I finally said to the nurse, "My son is having a reaction to his medicine.  He has been coughing and gagging.  Just to be clarify: You are saying that if my son went into anaphylactic shock, you would let him die on the pavement out here before you would help me get him inside to treat him?"  The nurse said "Yes." He told me “I have 27 beds and 55 patients already." I said, "So, this is a bed problem? And, you are looking at my son and seeing a lot of extra work."  He said that was not the case but refused to elaborate further.    No one on the staff stepped up to help.  The nurse never made any attempt to physically assess JoJo.  

I took JoJo to another hospital where he was found to be metabolic acidosis due to aspiration pneumonia and was immediately put on a ventilator.  My beloved and beautiful JoJo passed away on September 27, 2019.  He was 29 years old.  

OBJECTIVE: This petition to Representative Rommel requests that the law be amended to add protections for vulnerable adults with developmental disabilities and exclude them from the damage limitations related to age, marital status, and ability to have children. If the law is not changed, healthcare providers can continue to act with impunity when treating vulnerable adults because there is virtually no real monetary damages to discourage them.  Our developmentally disabled citizens are the most vulnerable in our society. Be their voice!  Be their champion!  This law must be changed to protect them!

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!