Monday, July 17, 2006

'Malpractice' at Sea ...

Cruise Lines Liable?: A 2003 civil lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises by a Deerfield Beach, Florida couple, Hilda and Sam Rosenfeld, over a cut from a bathroom spill leading to bone infection now grabs headlines. The woman, 82, walks with a cane, has heart problems, and kidney disease, and her attorney has motioned twice to expedite, both denied. She got antiobotics aboard, but not enough, her lawyer claims. Suing the German doctor aboard isn't viable, he says, so her ability to collect depends on whether Celebrity can be held liable. That likely hinges on a case now before the Florida Supreme Court involving Carnival Cruise Lines. Doctors are trained in a discipline that cruise lines aren't, and courts have upheld that principle in 27 cases over 100 years. Yet rejection came in a suit in federal court in California over Carnival Ecstasy cruise from Miami when a girl, 14, was treated by the ship's doctor for flu. Returning to Detroit, the suit alleges her parents learned she had a ruptured appendix damaging reproductive organs. Miami-Dade circuit court dismissed. But the Third District Court of Appeal overturned in 2003. Carnival appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. Most cruises require lawsuits be brought in South Florida. Change in Florida law means far more than change anywhere else.

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