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Attorneys For Mental Hospital Nurse Charged With Abuse Want State To Prove Its Case


Attorneys for a former Florida State Hospital nurse want the state to show more evidence to prove their client is responsible for a pregnant mental patient who lost her child. The lawyers say the state is trying to avoid liability by scape-goating the nurse.

An investigation by the state show nurse Kathryn Cottle delayed in getting help for a pregnant Florida State Mental Hospital patient whose complicated delivery resulted in a brain injured child who later died. But Cottle’s attorney, Sid Matthews, says the state is trying to deflect blame.

“There’s no question that the family of the mama have noticed the state that they intend to file a malpractice case or negligence case. And one way the state has defended these cases is to scapegoat low level employees," he said following a hearing at the Gadsden County Courthouse.

The state has to prove Cottle’s actions caused a physical injury to the patient. In sworn statements, doctors examining the records say the patient had a medical issue leading to the complicated birth.  Other attending nurses and physicians reported the woman didn’t appear to be in labor. Cottle is charged with abuse of a disabled adult, a felony which could carry a five year prison sentence.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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