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State Medical Board Action v. Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida


Patients who suffer bodily harm at the hands of a negligent Florida health care provider have multiple options to seek redress. Two of the most common remedies are:

  1. Filing a complaint with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH)
  2. Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit

However, these options have varying implications for your rights as an injured patient. It’s important to understand the distinctions between them, one of which is the end result of each process. The specifics are more complicated, and your Florida medical malpractice attorney can explain in more detail. In the meantime, an overview may be helpful in pointing out the respective outcomes for each proceeding. 

Action by the Florida DOH: Generally speaking, government agencies are tasked with protecting the public as a whole – not specific individuals, unless they’re part of a larger group. With respect to licensed health care practitioners, the job of the Florida DOH is to make sure doctors are providing quality patient care and complying with relevant regulations. In addition, the DOH will investigate any formal complaints against a provider. The details may vary, but the process generally involves multiple stages:

1. Officials will investigate to determine if there’s sufficient evidence to support the allegations set forth in the formal complaint. 

2. Based upon the findings of the investigation, the DOH may order a formal hearing. At the proceeding, the physician may testify and other evidence may be presented.

3. After the hearing, the DOH may take no action if the allegations in the complaint are not supported by sufficient evidence. However, if there was wrongdoing by the health care provider, officials may issue some form of punishment. Sanctions could include:

  • Formal reprimand
  • A fine
  • Restrictions on the physician’s ability to practice
  • License suspension
  • Possible license revocation

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim: From the above, you can see that none of the actions by the DOH address your individual rights as a patient. To recover compensation for the losses you suffer as a victim, you need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in a civil court. These proceedings are governed by law, but the end result in a successful claim is getting monetary damages for:

  • Your medical costs to treat malpractice-related injuries
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

A remedy in civil court through a medical practice lawsuit has no bearing on the physician’s license to practice, though the results could form the basis of a complaint through the Florida DOH.

Discuss Your Options with a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer 

At Freidin Brown, P.A., our Miami medical malpractice attorneys are well-versed in the process for filing a complaint with FDOH, so we can assist in your efforts to make sure a negligent health care provider receives appropriate discipline. We also have extensive experience in medical malpractice actions, as we’ve helped many South Florida clients recover compensation after suffering injuries from medical mistakes. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us to set up a free consultation at our offices.


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