Humber v. Ross, No. 4-86-0479

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtGLICKSTEIN; GUNTHER; LETTS
Citation12 Fla. L. Weekly 1457,509 So.2d 356
Parties12 Fla. L. Weekly 1457 William A. HUMBER and Dorothy Humber, his wife, Appellants, v. Thomas ROSS, M.D., and Thomas Ross, M.D., P.A., Doctors Hospital of Lake Worth, Inc., and Florida Patient's Compensation Fund, Appellees.
Decision Date10 June 1987
Docket NumberNo. 4-86-0479

Page 356

509 So.2d 356
12 Fla. L. Weekly 1457
William A. HUMBER and Dorothy Humber, his wife, Appellants,
v.
Thomas ROSS, M.D., and Thomas Ross, M.D., P.A., Doctors Hospital of Lake Worth, Inc., and Florida Patient's Compensation Fund, Appellees.
No. 4-86-0479.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Fourth District.
June 10, 1987.
Rehearing Denied July 28, 1987.

Edna L. Caruso of Edna L. Caruso, P.A., West Palm Beach, and Thompson & O'Brien, Fort Lauderdale, for appellants.

Nancy P. Maxwell of Metzger & Sonneborn, West Palm Beach, for appellees-Thomas Ross, M.D., and Thomas Ross, M.D., P.A.

Roy Watson of Adams, Coogler, Watson & Merkel, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellee-Doctors Hospital.

Marjorie Gadarian Graham of Jones & Foster, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellee-Florida Patient's Compensation Fund.

Page 357

GLICKSTEIN, Judge.

Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit appeal final judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm.

William A. Humber is the patient who brought the medical malpractice action against Dr. Thomas Ross and his professional association, Doctors Hospital of Lake Worth, Inc., and later, by amended complaint, Florida Patient's Compensation Fund. His wife was a plaintiff derivatively. They alleged injury because of medical negligence that occurred between December 7, 1979, and December 27, 1979, when Mr. Humber was a patient at Doctors Hospital and under Dr. Ross' care. The initial complaint was filed December 28, 1981. The amended complaint was filed January 31, 1983. The defendants raised a statute of limitations defense. Trial was set for October 21, 1985, and actually proceeded for a few days, but a mistrial was declared because the amount of time needed had been underestimated and the court was unable to allot additional time at that point. The parties agreed, however, that the trial court could hear the issue of the affirmative defense of statute of limitations on a non-jury basis.

A hearing on that issue was held on November 1, 1985. The basic question was when did the plaintiffs discover that they had a cause of action, or when should they have reasonably made this discovery. By final judgment rendered February 13, 1986, the trial court entered final judgment in favor of the defendants, having found that Mrs. Humber knew or should have known of the cause of action the day Mr. Humber fell and broke his hip, December 10, 1979, and Mr. Humber knew or should have known at least by December 27, 1979, when he left the hospital. The limitation period was thus concluded no later than December 27, 1981, the day before the initial complaint was filed against Dr. Ross and the hospital. We agree.

On December 7, 1979, on Dr. Ross' orders, Mr. Humber, then aged 61, entered Doctors Hospital for treatment of a herpes zoster infection on his forehead which could have endangered his vision. Dr. Ross is a dermatologist. Humber had trouble sleeping in the hospital, and Dr. Ross prescribed a stronger sleeping medication than Humber was already taking, on December 9, 1979, at Humber's request. According to Mrs. Humber, Mr. Humber was so heavily sedated that day that all he did was drift in and out of sleep.

According to the nurses, they found Mr. Humber sprawled on the floor at 2:30 a.m. December 10, 1979. He was lethargic and disoriented. The nurses put him back in his bed. Although Dr. Ross said he relied on the nursing staff to tell him of any unusual occurrences, Dr. Ross was not immediately notified of this incident. Because Humber complained of hip pain, the nurses contacted Dr. Ross at about 6:00 a.m. and he arrived at the hospital at about 7:00 a.m. Dr. Ross ordered x-ray of the hip. The x-ray disclosed a fractured hip. Dr. Ross notified Mrs. Humber. Mr. Humber had no recollection of the fall and did not know how the fracture occurred.

Either on December 10 or the next day there was a conversation between Dr. Ross and Mrs. Humber, during which Dr. Ross told her which physicians he had called in to treat Mr. Humber, and answered her questions about the medications he had prescribed for the patient. Mr. Humber suffered a myocardial infarction sometime...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 practice notes
  • Bogorff By and Through Bogorff v. Koch, Nos. 86-2550
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 18 Abril 1989
    ...immediate change of condition put the Bogorffs on notice of the connection between the condition and the treatment. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla. 4th DCA), review denied, 518 So.2d 1275 (Fla.1987). In fact, when the Bogorffs asked Dr. Koch specifically about the cause of Adam's co......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Sitomer, Nos. 4-86-0215
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Febrero 1988
    ...the injury was caused by tortious conduct, through constructive notice, then the limitations period begins to run. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla 4th DCA 1987). Thus, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case begins to run when the plaintiff has been put on notice of ......
  • Elliot v. Barrow, No. 87-819
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 3 Junio 1988
    ...other hand, if plaintiff either should have or did have actual knowledge of the negligence, the statute begins to run. Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987); Frankowitz v. Propst, 489 So.2d 51 (Fla. 4th DCA Whether the plaintiff has such knowledge or constructive knowledge is a ......
  • Jackson v. Georgopolous, No. 88-03093
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Octubre 1989
    ...the injury was caused by tortious conduct, through constructive notice, then the limitations period begins to run. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356, 359 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). Thus, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case begins to run when the plaintiff has been put on noti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Bogorff By and Through Bogorff v. Koch, Nos. 86-2550
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 18 Abril 1989
    ...immediate change of condition put the Bogorffs on notice of the connection between the condition and the treatment. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla. 4th DCA), review denied, 518 So.2d 1275 (Fla.1987). In fact, when the Bogorffs asked Dr. Koch specifically about the cause of Adam's co......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Sitomer, Nos. 4-86-0215
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Febrero 1988
    ...the injury was caused by tortious conduct, through constructive notice, then the limitations period begins to run. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla 4th DCA 1987). Thus, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case begins to run when the plaintiff has been put on notice of ......
  • Elliot v. Barrow, No. 87-819
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 3 Junio 1988
    ...other hand, if plaintiff either should have or did have actual knowledge of the negligence, the statute begins to run. Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987); Frankowitz v. Propst, 489 So.2d 51 (Fla. 4th DCA Whether the plaintiff has such knowledge or constructive knowledge is a ......
  • Jackson v. Georgopolous, No. 88-03093
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Octubre 1989
    ...the injury was caused by tortious conduct, through constructive notice, then the limitations period begins to run. See Humber v. Ross, 509 So.2d 356, 359 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). Thus, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case begins to run when the plaintiff has been put on noti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT