A Florida judge has ruled that plaintiffs pursuing a malpractice suit against orthopedic surgeon David Heekin, MD, can also seek damages against Jacksonville, Fla.-based St. Vincent's Hospital, news station WJXT reported Nov. 21.
More than 400 patients have accused Dr. Heekin for operating on them while impaired by a neurological condition.
A judge has ruled that the plaintiffs can amend their lawsuit to seek damages against the hospital after presenting evidence that St. Vincent's displayed gross negligence by not stopping Dr. Heekin from performing surgery when he was allegedly slurring his speech and behaving erratically.
Plaintiffs claim top officials at St. Vincent's knew about Dr. Heekin's behavior. They alleged that in 2020, the hospital's senior vice president received a text message reporting an uptake in severe complications suffered after Dr. Heekin's surgeries, the report said.
St. Vincent's argued it is not liable for damages as it made efforts to have Dr. Heekin monitored and he was reviewed by an unaffiliated physician.