Changes for Reggie - Modify NICA because one size don't fit all. OBGYN cant be sued in FL.

Changes for Reggie - Modify NICA because one size don't fit all. OBGYN cant be sued in FL.

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Ruth Jacques started this petition to Ron DeSantis and

The picture above should not be my reality but it is. Our son Reginald Joshua Jacques was born full term at Winnie Palmer Hospital June 15, 2016. After a  full term healthy pregnancy, I never imagined this is how our sons story would end. I used to say " I can't wait for him to come out." Had I knew that he would be injured during delivery and wind up 10 feet under in a cemetary, I would have been pregnant for a lifetime. The brokenness of losing a child is unbearable and on top of it for the law to tell you that there is nothing you can do other than accept 10,000 death benefit for the child along with no record of the negligence on the Obstetrician record is a slap in the face. How can I really grieve my child? Where is the closure?

In the state of Florida, if a child suffer a birth injury during delivery at the hand of an obstetrician,  you have to accept 10K as death benefit and you are not allowed to seek justice by any others means. If you attempt to sue anyway, the judge will ask you straight up, did you file with NICA?  NICA  stands for (The Florida Birth Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association) which is a state program that lawmaker created to decrease the number of lawsuits so obstetrician would not leave the states.

However, when I lost my son, I could not figure out why the delivering doctor did not seem concerned or show any signed of compassion for his actions which had led to my son being on life support and eventually dead.  After burying our first born child Joshua Reginald Jacques, I discovered that once the hospital had me sign the NICA waiver while I was in excruciating pain and labor which I did not read, I signed my right away because the delivering doctor paid his 5,000 annual fee into NICA. He is essentially protected from all potential birth injury lawsuits because we a. On June 15th, 20176 – What we thought was going to be a routine OB appointment suddenly turned into the most horrific experience a parent can ever experience. While at our was 39 week check up, our obstetrician performed the artificial rupture of membranes to provoke labor and I was sent home. The next morning, I woke up feeling super cold. I was shivering nonstop so my husband and I headed to Winnie Palmer Hospital at 2:00 am in the morning. They checked the baby heart rate and movement and reassured us that everything was fine. Then,  I was given Pitocin to because I was not progressing fast enough. I believe I was given a little bit too much because Within minutes of receiving Pitocin, the baby’s heart rate started to drop. Then for the next three hours, the delivering doctor whom I never met before showed up and had me push for nearly 3 hours. My OBGYN whose office is down the street never informed me that another doctor would be delivering my baby. I only saw her during all my appointments. So for the next three hours, I tried to push a 10.lbs baby who winds up being vacuumed as the ultimate solution. The doctor never offered a c-section as a means of saving my child. Over the next three months, the hospital nearly harassed me into removing my son from life support. When I finally did, I could tell they were all relieved. However, my baby did not die. He lived for the next two months and his death eventually came from neglect and lack of care. On the day my son died, he died upon my shoulder one minutes after I enter his room coming from work. They told us, he could come home and since our one bedroom apartment was not going to be feasible, we bought a home and made preparation one week before he came home, sadly I never brought my baby home. If I did not walk in that hospital the minute I did, he would have died alone in the room. I was there, in total shock. No one made an effort to resuscitate him. When I tried to find out why, they lied on our medical record that we had agreed to a DNR  (DO NOT RESSUCITATE ) even though we never signed one. We ask them to produce a copy of it and they said it was verbal, while there is no such thing. A DNR is a legal document.

As we were going through the process of filing a law suit we were informed about a program in Florida, Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA), which we would have to file a claim through first. NICA is a program created in 1988 as an alternative to medical malpractice claims. What this mean is if the injury meets their list of criteria that they would assume ownership of the claim and we would not have the ability to sue anyone involved in the injury or death of our son. We were hoping that NICA would not take the case so that they would have to be accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, NICA did take the case. 

Although this program does help families that have surviving children it is not a one size fits all plan. If a child survives the family will get financial assistance for things such as Medical expenses, therapy, custodial care, medication, special equipment and other related costs. For those who lose a child all this program does is add more pain to the already unimaginable pain that the parents are already going through. Why should the state of Florida have the right to say my child’s life is only worth $10,000.00? I deem it unjust to be told to take $10,000 for the death of my child and shut my mouth.

The purpose of this petition is to ask Florida Lawmakers to modify the program because yes a good thing can become not a so good thing when others abuse it. NICA is abusing the program and using it as a tool to cover proper medical malpractice lawsuits.

Change #1

  • No matter the number of NICA claims against a doctor, whether or not the child lived or died, nothing is put on their permanent record. This is wrong, doctors need to be held accountable for their actions and their mistakes. Unless you know where to look you would never know. The only reason we know is we were following our case. As a parent looking for an OB this information should be more readily available. 
  • A doctor should not be this protected. We have rights, our child has rights, we should know every time a doctor makes a mistake. For every NICA claim all parties involved should have a it noted on their permanent record and made publicly available.

Change #2

  • Florida Statute 766.302(2) - NICA cannot define their own criteria. One of the criteria is that the injury must occur during labor. I called NICA and asked if they could define “Labor” and was told they could not because it is by a case by case basis.
  • This is a flawed system, NICA must define their criteria and if the injury falls under that definition then it would be a NICA claim, if it does not fall under that definition then it is not a NICA claim. 

Change #3

  • If there is negligence documented it should not be a NICA claim.
  • If there is documented negligence NICA should not be able to take the claim. NICA should not be allowed to protect the doctors, NICA should protect the families.

Change #4 

  • Florida Statute 766.31 1(b)1 and 766.31(2) The dollar amounts set by NICA in 1988 have not been adjusted for inflation. In 1988 the lump sum benefit was set at $100,000.00 and the death settlement of $10,000.00.
  • Adjust benefit dollar amounts to reflect inflation.
  • Adjusted lump sum benefit $217, 930.86
  • Adjusted death settlement $21,793.09

Change #5

  • There is nowhere in the petition for benefits that allow the parent(s) or lawyer to add any information that they deem important. 
  • The parent(s)/lawyer need to have the ability to share pertinent information. When there a decision that affects the rest of your life the parent(s) should be able to be involved.

Change #6

  • If a child dies within three months of the injury they should be excluded NICA coverage. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the “average lifetime costs per person were estimated at $921,000 for persons with cerebral palsy, it is not right that if my child dies within days of being born that the state of Florida can put a $10,000 price on his life.

 

 

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