Jacksonville facing scarcity of surgeonsCompiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 17, 2003
JACKSONVILLE -- Nine cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons will take an indefinite leave of absence May 2 because of a decision by two local surgeons' groups to stop working unless the state caps awards on medical malpractice lawsuits.
The specialists, members of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates, say they can't provide care for their patients without an adequate number of general surgeons to back them up. As a result, the group is halting nonemergency surgeries. It will continue to provide followup care for existing patients and emergency service at hospitals.
The group specializes in heart, lung and other vascular services.
"It wouldn't be safe to go full steam when there's a problem in the railroad up ahead," said Dr. Raymond Lee, a physician with the group.
The specialists rely heavily on general surgeons for consultation and work with their patients.
Two of the area's largest general surgery groups recently decided to stop practicing after May 2, unless Florida lawmakers limit the awards in malpractice lawsuits that can be given for noneconomic damages. The Florida House has passed a bill with such a provision, but the Senate has resisted.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against FBI in deadly crash
WEST PALM BEACH -- A federal judge has dismissed a $100-million lawsuit brought against the FBI by the family of two half brothers killed in a head-on collision with an FBI agent.
David Farrall was clearly off-duty in the hours leading up to the November 1999 crash, time he spent drinking beer at a Davie restaurant with his FBI supervisor, U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks ruled Tuesday in West Palm Beach.
Middlebrooks noted that Farrall drove his own car to the restaurant rather than his bureau car, and rejected the argument that the FBI is responsible for supervisor John Raleigh's failure to stop him from getting behind the wheel.
In November a Broward County jury convicted Farrall, who has been fired, of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
Tuesday it was revealed that he reached a confidential settlement of a separate state lawsuit with the family of victims Maurice Williams, 23, and Craig Chambers, 19.
Police say man abducted, may have assaulted girl
FORT LAUDERDALE -- Police have arrested a man accused of briefly abducting a mentally disabled teenager and are investigating allegations that the girl was sexually assaulted.
Mauricio Aguirre, 33, was charged with interfering with the custody of a minor, a third-degree felony. He was being held on $100,000 bail Wednesday, police spokesman Mike Reed said. Police will compare DNA from Aguirre with evidence recovered from the girl, he said.
The 17-year-old girl disappeared early Saturday morning from a bar where she was playing a video game while her father played pool. She was found in a condominium about 12 hours later.
The girl suffers from Angelman syndrome, a disorder that causes people to have severe developmental disabilities, limited verbal skills and trouble with movement and balance. The teen and her father are not being named to protect victims of sexual abuse.
Link suspected in two young boys' kidnapping
NAPLES -- A 6-year-old Collier County boy was abducted and then dropped off several hours later, and authorities say the kidnapping could be related to a similar incident in December.
The boy in Monday night's case was forced into a black pickup in front of his house, investigators said. He was missing for four hours before being dropped off near his home and aided by a passing motorist.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Tina Osceola said the boy had scratches and bruises on his head, likely from a struggle. The child hasn't told investigators or his parents where he was.
"He's really traumatized," Osceola said.
On Dec. 16, a 6-year-old boy was abducted from a park, where he was lured into a black pickup by the promise of a motor scooter. He was driven around for three hours before being dropped off a 20-minute drive from the park.
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From the Times state desk
From the state wire