Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
July 2000 Vol. 26, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

$31 Million Verdict for Paralyzed Diver

from the July, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A paralyzed scuba diver won a $31.1 million malpractice verdict against a Pensacola hospital in a case that went to trial three times. The Associated Press reported that Baptist Hospital would appeal the jury verdict, the largest ever in Escambia County.

The award is more than three times the $7.88 million Keith Rawson, 45, initially won in 1995. Rawson suffered decompression sickness when he came up too quickly after a 1988 dive in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola. In the suit, he contended a decision by Baptist doctors to send him first to the emergency room rather than directly to a hyperbaric chamber caused his legs to be paralyzed. “I thought of all the money Baptist has spent defending this three times now, and they could have used it for indigent care,” Rawson said. “I know what it’s like to be poor.”

Rawson, a plumber before he was injured, said he has been existing on Social Security benefits. Hospital spokesperson Pam Bilbrey defended the hospital’s refusal to settle the case, saying the doctors’ decisions and treatment saved Rawson’s life. She contended that Rawson was so badly hurt he would have suffered paralysis regardless of when he went into the hyperbaric chamber.

The 1995 award was reversed on grounds attorney Fred Levin inflamed the jury by calling the hospital’s defenses “ridiculous” and its doctors “idiots.” The second verdict in 1997 exonerated the hospital, but Circuit Judge Kim Skievaski ordered another retrial after admitting he had erred by allowing the late addition of a defense expert’s testimony.

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.