Miami Gardens family wins $33.8 million medical malpractice award against federal government

The federal government will have to pay a Miami Gardens family a $33.8 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a judge ruled on Monday that a federally employed doctor’s decisions caused a teen’s baby boy to suffer irreversible brain damage.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola awarded the baby’s mother, Marla Dixon, $3.3 million, and the father, Earl Reese-Thornton, $1.1 million for their pain and suffering. Scola awarded $21.7 million for the boy’s economic damages and $7.6 million for his pain and suffering. 

Dixon was a patient at Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami Gardens. Dr. Ata Atogho was the on-call physician at the community center, which provides care to the uninsured and undocumented with the help of federal funding. 

While she was at North Shore Medical Center, Dixon was also under the care of Yolande McCray, an experienced labor and delivery nurse. McCray testified that Atogho’s claims that he offered Dixon a cesarean section and that she declined were false. 

Both McCray and Reese-Thornton testified that the 19-year-old mother was yelling, “Just cut me!” 

McCray said Atogho ignored her request despite the baby’s slowed heart rate and left Dixon for another delivery. He was also reportedly on the phone with his financial adviser. When the baby was born on Dec. 2, 2013, he wasn’t breathing.

“At the anticipated, joyful moment of birth of a crying, bouncing baby, they are instead presented with the dreadful specter of a blue, floppy, lifeless child,” Scola wrote in his order.

It was not a high-risk pregnancy. After the baby was revived, the parents learned that he had suffered brain damage because of a lack of oxygen. Medical experts from both the defense and the plaintiffs agreed that a C-section could have prevented her baby’s brain damage.

“The court has considered all the evidence in the case, including the testimony of the defendant’s life expectancy expert, who has opined [the 3-year-old boy] has a life expectancy of an additional 9 to 12 years,” Scola wrote.

Florida’s statutory caps did not limit the award, which the government will have to pay in periodic payments. 

Charles White of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami led the federal government’s defense team. The family’s attorneys were from two Miami law firms: Vidian Mallard and Richard Sharp of Mallard & Sharp and Lauri Ross of Ross & Girten. 

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Vigil held for Miami man shot, killed in car

Friends and family gathered for a vigil Wednesday night for a 26-year-old man who was found shot to death in a car earlier that day.

Loved ones lit candles for Orlando Miret Jr., who was shot to death while he was inside a black Honda near Southwest 27th Lane near Southwest 37th Avenue.

“He was definitely young, full of life, just a good kid, with his own company doing what he had to do,” Devy Lopez said.

Miret crashed into a pole after he was shot.

During the vigil his friends left some messages on the pole. Some of those messages revealed his nickname, “water boy.”  

“Well, we called him ‘water boy.’ Water boy because he tried out for the baseball team and he didn’t make it, so he ended up giving out water to team members,” Lopez said.

The gunfire woke up the neighbors. 

“The neighbors came out. Everyone was screaming, ‘Somebody’s been shot. Somebody’s been shot,'” Nada Sater said.

The bullets came so close to one neighbor’s home one of them hit his rental car parked right in the driveway. 

Miret’s friends can’t understand why anyone would want to kill him, and they have a message for the shooter. 

“You can run but you cannot hide. Either you come or we’ll find you.” Lopez said. “Justice will be served.” 

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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Vigil held for Miami man shot, killed in car

Friends and family gathered for a vigil Wednesday night for a 26-year-old man who was found shot to death in a car earlier that day.

Loved ones lit candles for Orlando Miret Jr., who was shot to death while he was inside a black Honda near Southwest 27th Lane near Southwest 37th Avenue.

“He was definitely young, full of life, just a good kid, with his own company doing what he had to do,” Devy Lopez said.

Miret crashed into a pole after he was shot.

During the vigil his friends left some messages on the pole. Some of those messages revealed his nickname, “water boy.”  

“Well, we called him ‘water boy.’ Water boy because he tried out for the baseball team and he didn’t make it, so he ended up giving out water to team members,” Lopez said.

The gunfire woke up the neighbors. 

“The neighbors came out. Everyone was screaming, ‘Somebody’s been shot. Somebody’s been shot,'” Nada Sater said.

The bullets came so close to one neighbor’s home one of them hit his rental car parked right in the driveway. 

Miret’s friends can’t understand why anyone would want to kill him, and they have a message for the shooter. 

“You can run but you cannot hide. Either you come or we’ll find you.” Lopez said. “Justice will be served.” 

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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Neighbors call 911 after man found shot to death in car in Miami

A man was found shot to death in a car early Wednesday morning in Miami, authorities said.

The shooting was reported on Southwest 27th Lane near Southwest 37th Avenue.

Residents in the neighborhood said they heard multiple gunshots and then saw a car that had crashed into a light pole.

“The neighbors came out. Everyone was screaming, ‘Somebody’s been shot. Somebody’s been shot,” Nada Sater said.

Home surveillance video shows a man standing in the road, firing several shots at the black Honda.

Neighbors called 911.

 

“All we saw was a man sitting in his car, and he appeared to be dead. But other than that, police didn’t tell us anything,” Sater said.

Miami police said the man, identified by relatives as Orlando Miret Jr., was pronounced dead at the scene.

The car was towed away with the body still inside.

“This is not the first time something shady has happened in this neighborhood, so I think it’s time to move,” Sater said.

Police are still searching for the gunman.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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7-year-old boy will have to learn to talk, walk again after Miami crash

A 7-year-old boy remains in the intensive care unit at Holtz Children’s Hospital after he got trapped under a dashboard during a crash earlier this month in Miami.

Branden Maitland, a first-grade student who loves basketball, is in stable condition, but he still has a long recovery.

He will have to learn to walk and talk again, but his family wants everyone to know that the young boy is a fighter.

The family’s world changed overnight April 3 when Branden was nearly killed in a collision that left him pinned under the dashboard of his grandfather’s car.

Since then, his parents have been by his side trying their best to help him move on from the incident, but it hasn’t been easy.

“He was sleeping and just started crying and saying, ‘No, no, no!’ I don’t know if he was having flashbacks,” Branden’s mother, Karen Maitland, said.  

Branden suffered multiple fractures throughout his body, and a ruptured kidney caused severe internal bleeding.

“(They) opened him to make sure no other organ was bleeding,” Maitland said.

It’s unclear whether Branden will ever walk again, but his condition is already improving. His family said he is finally breathing on his own.

“It is tough, but we are hanging in there,” Maitland said.

Branden’s family said he suffers from seizures, so the crash only complicated things for his health.

Still, the Maitland family said they are grateful that Branden, who is one of three siblings, is closer to going home.

Branden’s grandfather was recently released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

It’s unclear when exactly Branden will be able to go home, but his family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they have received since the crash.

“It has been amazing,” Maitland said. “I can’t complain. A lot of support from family members and co-workers.”

Miami police said the crash remains an ongoing investigation

Click here if you wish to donate to the Maitland family to help with Branden’s medical expenses.

 

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Port Miami is largest economic generator in Florida, study finds

Miami-Dade County officials announced Monday that there are some new projects in the pipeline for Port Miami, which is a major economic engine in South Florida and is also the biggest money-maker in the entire state.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa and Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Monday stood proudly next to Port Miami employees, who they credit with helping the port grow.

“Right now, the Port of Miami is the leading economic generator, not only in Miami-Dade County, but also the largest economic generator in the state of Florida,” Gimenez said.

The port now surpasses the airport in terms of revenue.

According to a new study commissioned by the port, at least 116,000 jobs have been added.

The port generated $12.8 billion in the last fiscal year, bringing the number to more than $41 billion in revenue. A record number of cruise passengers, more than 5 million, have also traveled through the port, a feat the mayor is proud of.

“We’re very pleased with the growth here,” Gimenez said. “That’s the reason why we invested $1.3 billion into this port, dredging it, tunnel-connecting it to the interstate system and finally re-tying it back to the railroad.”

Gimenez said there’s more to come for the port.

“We expect more in terms of cargo and trade,” Gimenez said. “We expect more in terms of our cruise passengers, we expect more logistics and warehousing opportunities and jobs to be on the mainland as we continue to grow this port.”

 

 

 

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