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Health News Florida

Doctors Will Appeal 'Docs vs. Glocks' Ruling

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MGN Online

Doctors and gun-control advocates said Monday they will appeal to the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a ruling that upheld Florida's controversial "docs vs. glocks" law.

A three-judge panel of the court, in a 2-1 ruling last week, said the state Legislature had the right to pass the law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which is helping represent Florida doctors fighting the law, announced the appeal Monday.

"If the appellate court’s decision is allowed to stand, the corporate gun lobby and its political cronies will be given license to silence the medical community from speaking the truth to patients about the real risks of guns in the home, and any powerful industry will be able to dictate whether families get complete, honest information about the dangers posed by its products," said Jonathan Lowy, director of the center's Legal Action Project.

Supporters of the 2011 law, which was backed by the National Rifle Association, say doctors might turn away patients who own guns or who don't answer questions about gun ownership. Critics argue that doctors need to know what's in a patient's home so they can offer safety advice.

Bill Seeks $6.87M In Off-Duty Officer's Death

A claim bill was filed Monday that seeks to require Pasco County to pay more than $6.87 million to the family of an off-duty Tampa police officer who was killed in a traffic crash with a Pasco County vehicle.

The bill (SB 36), filed by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, stems from the May 2008 death of Victor Guerrero, a 20-year Tampa police officer.

Guerrero was riding a motorcycle on U.S. 41 when a truck driven by a Pasco County employee turned into his path, causing Guerrero to hit the truck. Guerrero's death led to a lawsuit, with a jury verdict calling for Guerrero's family to receive $7,060,614 plus interest.

The bill says Pasco County has paid $186,776 and calls for the county to pay the remaining $6,873,838. The state's sovereign-immunity laws typically limit the amounts of money government agencies, such as counties, can be required to pay in lawsuits.

But lawmakers can pass claim bills that direct payments of larger amounts. Senators last week started filing claim bills for the 2015 legislative session.

Florida Sends Firefighters To Oregon, Washington

Florida sent 52 wild-land firefighters Monday to assist with wildfires raging in Oregon and Washington.

The Florida Forest Service announced that the firefighters will serve a variety of roles, from front-line firefighting to aviation, safety regulation, logging and heavy-equipment management.

"Thanks to current low wildfire danger levels in Florida, we are able to lend support to other states for the protection of people, structures and natural resources.” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a prepared statement.

Lightning has been cited for starting separate blazes July 14 that have destroyed nearly 400,000 acres in north-central Oregon and more than 250,000 acres in north-central Washington.

Florida State Forester Jim Karels said additional personnel will be sent if requested. "The experiences that our firefighters gain out West will build upon their first-class training and experience fighting wildfires here in Florida," Karels said in a news release announcing the crews being sent.