open access

Vol 65, No 1 (2014)
MARITIME MEDICINE Case report
Published online: 2014-03-24
Submitted: 2014-03-24
Accepted: 2014-03-24
Get Citation

Legal aspects of cruise medicine — can a non-US ship’s doctor be sued for malpractice in Florida?

Eilif Dahl
DOI: 10.5603/MH.2014.0003
·
International Maritime Health 2014;65(1):13-15.

open access

Vol 65, No 1 (2014)
MARITIME MEDICINE Case report
Published online: 2014-03-24
Submitted: 2014-03-24
Accepted: 2014-03-24

Abstract

An English ship’s doctor treated a non-US female patient for abdominal discomfort on a foreign-flagged cruise ship off the coast of Haiti. In Mexico the patient underwent abdominal surgery, followed by complications, for which her lawyers wanted to take the ship’s doctor to court in Florida, USA. A trial court granted their wish, but this decision was reversed on appeal as the factors discussed were insufficient to establish Florida jurisdiction over the ship’s doctor. The decision is not about whether malpractice occurred; it is about limiting the possibility of taking the ship’s doctor to a court in a location preferred by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The appeal court ruling is important for non-US doctors working as independent contractors on cruise vessels that visit US ports, and it will hopefully prevent some of the more frivolous law suits from being filed in the future.

Abstract

An English ship’s doctor treated a non-US female patient for abdominal discomfort on a foreign-flagged cruise ship off the coast of Haiti. In Mexico the patient underwent abdominal surgery, followed by complications, for which her lawyers wanted to take the ship’s doctor to court in Florida, USA. A trial court granted their wish, but this decision was reversed on appeal as the factors discussed were insufficient to establish Florida jurisdiction over the ship’s doctor. The decision is not about whether malpractice occurred; it is about limiting the possibility of taking the ship’s doctor to a court in a location preferred by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The appeal court ruling is important for non-US doctors working as independent contractors on cruise vessels that visit US ports, and it will hopefully prevent some of the more frivolous law suits from being filed in the future.
Get Citation

Keywords

ship’s doctor, cruise ship, Florida jurisdiction, maritime medicine

About this article
Title

Legal aspects of cruise medicine — can a non-US ship’s doctor be sued for malpractice in Florida?

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 65, No 1 (2014)

Pages

13-15

Published online

2014-03-24

DOI

10.5603/MH.2014.0003

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2014;65(1):13-15.

Keywords

ship’s doctor
cruise ship
Florida jurisdiction
maritime medicine

Authors

Eilif Dahl

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