Late professor’s family receives $6.2 million in malpractice suit

Spinnaker

Cory Fine died during a routine CT scan. Fine is survived by his wife and son, Lisa and Tyler.

The surviving family of a late UNF business professor was awarded $6.2 million Aug. 11 in a Gainesville court after suing a hospital for medical malpractice.

Dr. Cory Fine passed away at Shands hospital in Gainesville, Fla., Dec. 23, 2002, during a CT scan, after having gastric bypass surgery just five days earlier. His wife and son, Lisa and Tyler Fine, survived him. Lisa filed a wrongful death suit against Shands in June 2003.

Fine said when the verdict was reached, she did not hear the amount of money awarded to her. She said she was shocked at the ruling and felt her efforts made it worth the fight.

“All I heard was that Shands was negligent and caused wrongful death, and I just about fell over,” Fine said.

Dr. Fine developed severe breathing difficulties in the morning of Dec. 23, 2003, and throughout the day doctors tried several options such as increased oxygen. Lisa Fine said by 7 p.m. that day, her husband’s condition worsened, and doctors ordered a CT scan. However, Fine said the nurses on her husband’s floor did not call for transport until 10 p.m., and she did not go with the transporter to monitor Dr. Fine.

Two techs and the transporter were in the CT room and decided to have Dr. Fine undergo a CT scan, but Fine said Dr. Fine’s final words warned them, “If you lay me down, I will not be able to breathe.” Despite Dr. Fine’s warnings, he was put in the CT scan and died during the procedure.

Shands Risk Management could not be reached for comment at the time of print. Fine said she anticipates Shands will file an appeal to overturn the verdict.

One of the lawyers who worked on the case with Fine, W. Marc Hardesty, said when he heard the verdict he knew that justice had been served. Hardesty said it reinforced the vision of the law firm, Hardesty, Tyde, Green and Ashton.

“The arrogance of Shands’ Risk Management Department just reinforced our resolve in this case,” Hardesty said.

Lisa Fine said Shands’ failure to provide certain documents concerning nursing notes, CT scan and doctor’s orders helped solidify her case against them. The hospital responded saying items go missing all the time, though those records are needed to bill insurance companies.

Fine said anyone who has worked in the medical field can tell you documents don’t just go missing. She said the workers at Shands during and after her husband’s procedure had a demeanor that was “lackadaisical, uncaring and neglectful on every level.”

Dr. Gene Baker, a business management professor who testified at the trial, worked with Dr. Fine and said he got to know him professionally and personally. Baker said Fine became “a popular and outstanding professor that the students loved.”

Dr. Fine received unanimous votes from the Coggin College of Business to posthumously promote Dr. Fine to associate professor as a sign of respect. Baker said he earned it.

Fine said she is not sure what she is doing with the money, but she said that Dr. Fine had started some international programs at UNF which were very meaningful to him, and that is something she would like to do when it gets to that point.

Fine said it is kind of overwhelming for her son to understand. She said she thought it was important to allow him to be there for parts of it and feel he had fought for something, too.

Fine said that Tyler, who was three years old when his father passed, said to her, “You would fight for me, right? Well I’m going to go fight for daddy, too.”