Florida Jury Clears Physician Assistant in Med Mal Trial Over Patient's Death

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Aug 25, 2022 2:00:00 PM


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Sarasota, FL— Jurors last week cleared a physician assistant of liability in a medical malpractice trial over the blood clot-related death of a Florida woman. Dinallo v. Kayat, et al., 2019-CA-003392.

The Florida 12th Circuit Court jury, in Sarasota County, deliberated less than three hours before concluding Charles Kayat was not responsible for the 2018 death of Jacqueline Dinallo. Kayat, a physician assistant had been treating Dinallo, 50, for complaints of a severe cough and shortness of breath, among other issues, before her death from a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot.

Dinallo’s family contends Kayat failed to properly refer Dinallo for testing and treatment that could have prevented her death. In addition to Kayat, supervising physician Dr. Alka Nair and primary care servicer Gulf Coast HMA Physician Management LLC, were also named defendants with the jury's verdict in favor of Kayat clearing the supervising physician and employer as well. 

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The four-day trial focused on whether Kayat acted appropriately in treating Dinallo. During last Thursday’s closings, Morgan & Morgan’s Keith Mitnik reviewed evidence he said showed the array of symptoms Dinallo suffered, combined with the fact that those symptoms were worsening, should have led Kayat to send her for more extensive care. 

“No one is suggesting that Mr. Kayat had to figure out that it was a pulmonary embolus,” Mitnik said. “You just have red flags that go up, warnings that go up. And the warnings lead to: protect the patient, get them to the safe place of the hospital and others will take over and find things out.”

But the defense argued that Kayat appropriately treated Dinallo based on her symptoms. During his closing last Thursday, Cole Scott Kissane’s Daniel Shapiro pointed to testimony he said showed that Dinallo’s pulmonary embolism was unpredictable and unforeseeable, while Kayat properly worked through a differential diagnosis in addressing the likely cause of her symptoms. 

“There are probably… thousands of medical diagnoses, but you’re going to look at [what’s] most likely based upon the patient’s complaints. It would be great if medicine was a science,” Shapiro said. “Every one of their experts told you: it’s just as much of an art as it is a science.”

CVN will update this article with any post-verdict comments. 

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Topics: Medical Malpractice, Florida, Dinallo, et al. v. Kayat, et al.