Just after noon on January 6th, 2014, I had a twenty-minute phone call with Marla Rawnsley regarding the death of my mother and the possibility of finding any justice for her. The short answer is, “No.”
Marla told me that — based on her extensive review of all of the medical records, and conversations with experts and doctors she found — the cost of pursuing justice for mom would far, far exceed anything gained from doing so. Because of numerous idiotic Florida laws, the only real potential target of a lawsuit would be Woodland Terrace, specifically for ignoring my orders not to administer Risperdal. But I’d need to find an expert willing to state unequivocally that that drug caused her death, and it would probably cost me between four and eight thousand dollars to do that. And Woodland Terrace would simply find a different expert to refute that claim.
She said that — again, because of crazy laws in Florida — she can’t even file a case without first having an expert opinion to present. “There’s nothing fair about any of this,” she said.
Because mom had no income and no savings, there’s really nothing to claim was lost by her death; there’s no money in it for anyone, basically. I could sue Woodland Terrace for pain and suffering, of course, but even if we won anything, all of the proceeds would immediately be consumed by outstanding medical bills, etc.
Marla said I could go online and file complaints about every doctor and nursing home, and perhaps the State of Florida might sanction some of them, but nothing is likely to change. “It will happen again,” she said. “They get away with it all of the time,” because they can.
Sometimes the depths of grief are overwhelming.