Let us pronounce the death and burial of compassionate conservatism. And, let us admit that when a governmental entity or employee kills or seriously injures someone through reckless, willful or negligent conduct the victims will not be given a fair hearing in the Florida Legislature.
State Senate President Tom Lee thinks claims filed by the unfortunate victims of state misconduct are “way too elitist” and would be happy if none are ever considered by the legislature. Not wishing to offend Tom, I have to suggest that leaving a trail of uncompensated victims of misconduct to suffer miserable lives while Tom and his cronies hand out millions to special interests and gut the rights of ordinary folks may better fit the definition of elitism.
From the Orlando Sun-Sentinel we learn about 17-year-old Minouche Noel who crawls about her house after becoming paralyzed at the hands of a Florida State Agency. What an elitist she is to think the State of Florida would actually pay the verdict awarded in her medical malpractice case!
House OKs $6 million for care of paralyzed Broward teen, but will Senate?
TALLAHASSEE — Minouche Noel, who was paralyzed due to doctor’s errors, came a step closer on Friday to receiving financial relief when the Florida House voted unanimously to provide the 17-year-old Broward girl and her family with $6 million for lifetime medical care.
A final vote is pending Friday afternoon in the Florida Senate, where Republican leaders have balked at spending tax funds on medical claims bills.
When she was 6 months old, Minouche was treated by Children’s Medical Services, a state-run program in Broward County. Already diagnosed with spina bifida, Minouche suffered from medical malpractice during an unnecessary surgery to remove a lesion on her back, which led to a spinal infection. The infection went undiagnosed and untreated until she was paralyzed.
A jury determined a decade ago the state was at fault and awarded her $8.5 million in compensation. The state has never appealed the case, but because Florida law requires jury verdicts larger than $200,000 against public agencies to be approved by the Legislature, the family has been denied the claim.
Minouche has to crawl on the floor of her house to use the bathroom, leaving her hands and knuckles bandaged and scarred. She also has no feeling from her hips down, and her family lacks the resources to replace the old, torn wheelchair she relies on that dates to her middle school years.
Thursday night, Senate President Tom Lee said he remained uncertain about whether the bill would clear the Legislature. He said he remains reluctant to pass any claims bills. Except for the bill for Minouche Noel, legislation known as “claims bills” that allow public agencies to pay victims for injuries caused by the government have not been allowed to come to a vote in the Legislature this year.
“Where to you draw the line?” Lee said. “Why is one person any more tragic than any other person’s accident…This is exactly why I consider this (claims bill) process way too political and way too elitist. The speaker wants to help (Smith), and that’s a great thing to do. But is this (Minouche Noel bill) more deserved than anybody else?”