Brian Brown's family says hospital's actions led to his death

Family considers filing malpractice lawsuit against Jackson North Medical Center

Local 10 WPLG News - Local News
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The family of a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot during what police described as a drug deal gone wrong is suing the hospital that he was transferred to before he died.

By all accounts, Brian Brown had a bright future ahead of him when he died after being shot in the back.

But now, his family and their attorneys said the hospital he was taken to by his girlfriend could have done more to save his life.

"He's not here anymore, and I think he could have still been here if the right thing was done at the right moment," Brian Brown's father, Craig Brown, said.

Craig Brown said he is still trying to come to terms with the fact that his son is gone.

"That kid was, he was amazing. He worked hard, he was on varsity (football) from ninth grade and he played hard," Craig Brown said.

Brian Brown was set to move to California next week after receiving a football scholarship before he was shot on June 14.

Police said Ed Lamarre, 22, shot the victim after the two got into an argument.

Brian Brown's girlfriend, who was with him at the time, drove him to Jackson North Medical Center, but it's what happened next that Brian Brown's family believes led to his death.

"Brian walked into Jackson North, he said, 'Help me, help me,' (and) collapsed to the floor," Craig Brown said. "They picked him up, put him on stretcher, I guess wheeled him in the back somewhere until 911 was called, and then they came and took him to Aventura (Hospital and Medical Center)."

"When he arrived there, we believe what happened is that they called 911 and had him transferred to another facility, which ultimately, we believe, caused his death," attorney Bob Kelley said.

Kelley, whose law firm is now representing Brian Brown's family, said they are currently gathering evidence for a medical malpractice suit, claiming that Jackson North's policy of calling 911 for a patient in Brian Brown's condition doesn't make sense, and they, at the very least, could have done more to stabilize him.

"Try to stop the bleeding, see where he's bleeding, see what injuries he has or try to do something. Don't just wheel him to the side and call 911," Craig Brown said.

According to the Brown's lawyers, Florida law prevents you from filing a medical malpractice suit for several months after the person's death.

So for now, they are gathering evidence and will decide where to go from there.

"Our sympathies are with this family, but because patient privacy is a top priority at Jackson Health System, we do not discuss individual cases," Jackson Health System said in an emailed statement. "In general, Florida law requires patients with trauma-level injuries to be treated at a trauma center. When a traumatically injured patient is voluntarily brought to an emergency department at any hospital that does not have a trauma center, the patient needs to be stabilized while 911 is called to transport the patient to the nearest trauma center."

Brian Brown's girlfriend said the high school football star was shot during a Craigslist transaction, but police said Lamarre confessed to the shooting and said he shot Brown during a drug deal. 

Lamarre remains in jail on a second-degree murder charge.