Three years in the past, I died for 11 minutes and misplaced all 4 of my limbs resulting from medical negligence. Due to Florida’s civil justice system, I used to be in a position to get justice and stick with it with my life. Now, Florida lawmakers are dashing to move a invoice that may severely limit Floridians’ entry to the courts and intestine the power of individuals like me to get well damages for future medical care and medical gadgets.
My story begins with me waking up from a coma at a distinct hospital than I entered, studying that I had gone into cardiac arrest resulting from an undiagnosed an infection, and that due to life-saving measures which shunted blood to my important organs throughout the 11-minute code, I used to be doubtless going to require amputation of all 4 of my limbs.
It’s by the grace of God, and the heroic efforts of healthcare suppliers on the receiving hospital, that I’m nonetheless alive as we speak. In the end, I needed to watch as each my legs and arms turned black, and all 4 of my limbs had been surgically amputated.
I didn’t need to be a quadruple amputee. Earlier than this all occurred, I lived a wholesome and energetic life, working a full-time job, elevating 4 kids, and training their sports activities groups.
As a result of my accidents had been foreseeable and preventable, I used to be in a position to deliver a declare underneath Florida regulation for the medical care and therapy I wanted for my everlasting accidents. Due to the tenacity of my lawyer, I acquired a settlement, in lower than a 12 months of litigation, that covers my residing bills and the continued prices of pricey prosthetics and persevering with medical therapy. These bills will final a lifetime.
Think about going into the hospital with a sore throat and leaving with out your 4 limbs. Think about what your life can be if another person’s negligence induced you to require around-the-clock assist and medical care. What would you assume you deserve?
I discovered by means of this course of that Florida’s present legal guidelines enable me to hunt compensation for the total price of future care, therapy, remedy, tools, accessible automobiles, and even dwelling modifications to accommodate my new regular. I nonetheless have issues that what I recovered won’t final me the remaining 40 or 50 years of my life. However for now, I’m in a position to dwell as near my pre-injury life as potential as a result of Florida’s civil justice system allowed me to safe accountability from the events liable for my accidents.
That’s what I deserve, and what anybody deserves in the event that they undergo accidents resulting from others’ negligence.
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Now, our civil justice system is underneath assault by Florida legislators working to marginalize individuals like me who’re catastrophically injured by means of no fault of their very own. Home Invoice 837, which is on a quick observe to the Governor’s desk, would drastically cut back the amount of cash individuals can get well for his or her previous and future medical care. This proposed invoice wouldn’t enable plaintiffs to ask for the total prices of their medical care. As an alternative, they might solely search to be compensated on the charges paid underneath their present medical health insurance service, whether or not that’s their non-public insurance coverage, Medicare, Medicaid or the VA.
Underneath this new laws, my settlement would have been dramatically smaller. I wouldn’t have entry to the continued wants of an amputee, like bodily remedy, substitute prosthetics, specialised automobiles, or dwelling modifications. Insurance coverage doesn’t at all times cowl this stuff― and this invoice would have barred me from asking for something not coated by my insurance coverage. This invoice additionally fails to contemplate the rising prices of healthcare, or future advances to care, like robotic prosthetics.
In the event that they move this invoice, legislators will drive completely injured individuals like me to achieve for the underside shelf of medical care, all underneath the ruse of decreasing prices for insurers like State Farm, whose income was $89.3 billion final 12 months (up from $82.2 billion in 2021). Moreover, it’ll imply individuals with accidents like mine will change into a burden to the state, as their solely alternative can be to go on Medicare or Medicaid.
On June 7, 2021, I took my first steps since shedding each of my legs. On February 24, 2023, with the uneven gait of a person strolling on two prosthetic legs, I walked as much as the rostrum on the Florida Home of Representatives Civil Justice Subcommittee listening to and requested legislators to contemplate the true impacts of what they’re doing. I pleaded with the individuals elected to guard us to think about residing with these accidents and to battle for me as if I had been their son or their brother. I advised them to recollect my face, bear in mind my legs, and bear in mind my arms as they take into account approving this invoice.
As these legislators steamroll this invoice, I hope they don’t take the palms they elevate to vote without any consideration. I took my palms without any consideration for 39 years earlier than they had been taken from me. These palms, which they’re fortunate sufficient to have, maintain the ability to do the appropriate factor and keep a pathway to justice for individuals like me. The query is: Will they?
Gary Miracle is a quadruple amputee, whose story impressed Christian artist MercyMe’s track “Say I Gained’t.” He has a ebook popping out in October 2023 titled,No Extra Dangerous Days.