WEST PALM BEACH — A Florida appeals court recently ruled that a release statement did not exempt a doctor from a medical malpractice claim.

On June 7, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal found that the release statement is too vague, leaves room for confusion, is "not thorough or detailed" and does not specify any type of negligence claims that the patient could have filed against the doctors.

The legal matter began Myra L. Brooks, the patient, and Ronald R. Brooks sued Dr. Michael D. Paul, Dr. Rene M. Loyola and MacMillan, Paul and Burkarth P.A. d/b/a Treasure Coast Neurosurgery for negligence.

Myra Brooks said that she suffered injuries, including a cut uterus, when she underwent a spinal fusion operation. The defendants requested a summary judgment because of a release that Myra allegedly signed before the surgery.

The release stipulated that the patient agreed “not to sue Dr. Michael D. Paul or the professional corporation of MacMillan, Paul and Burkarth P.A. for any reason.”

The trial court sided with the defendants, ruling that the statement was clear in Myra's vow not to sue the company.

The appeals court, however, disagreed. It reversed and sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

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