Florida Supreme Court Debates Whether or Not Doctor is Responsible for Patient’s Suicide

The Florida Supreme Court finds itself currently debating a medical malpractice lawsuit. At the center of the case is a woman who died after she hanged herself. The judges sitting on the Florida Supreme Court must now decide if her doctor was negligent.


In 2008, Jacqueline Granicz committed suicide by hanging herself. Her husband was the one who took the legal steps that eventually brought the case to the Florida Supreme Court. He feels questions whether Jaqueline’s doctor at the time, Joseph Chirillo, fulfilled his “duty” of care.

Last year, the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed that the case should move forward, a decision that nullified the circuit court judge who had already listened to the details of the case and ruled in Chirillo’s favor. This wasn’t a only case of suicide. The 55 years old man has jump from a building and committing also a suicide and killing also a innocent pedestrian by falling on him.

Chirillo’s attorney, Scott Cole, has steadfastly stuck to the defense that since nothing Granicz said or did indicated that she was seriously contemplating suicide, there was no way the doctor should have been expected to prevent her from hanging herself. Cole claims that Granicz’s death was “not foreseeable.”

Massachussetts Considers Mandatory Health Insurance“In this particular case, this was a suicide,” Cole said. “This was not a standard medical-negligence case.” One of the Supreme Court Justices, Fred Lewis, was quick to point out that thanks to changes in technology and scientific advances, medical professionals now have a better understanding of both the human mind and types of psychiatric conditions. He wondered if these advances didn’t in fact increase the likelihood of being able to predict a patient’s suicidle thoughts, therefore making Granicz’s suicide a foreseeable death that might have been prevented..

Granicz was booked an appointment with her doctor on Oct. 8, 2008. She told Chirillo’s assistant that she was having multiple depression related issues which included mental strain, being emotional, and a few other issues that were triggering her depression. When Chirillo’s assistant called the doctor and explained the situation, Chirillo ordered some changes in her medications and said he was going to refer he to a gastroenterologist who would examine her for gastrointestinal issues. The next day, Granicz’s body was found.

According to the paperwork filed by Granicz’s husband, he believes his late wife’s doctor failed to properly care for his wire. A circuit judge disagreed, and now everyone is waiting to see what the state’s Supreme Court will decide. It could take months for the Justices to reach a final decision.

“Cases like this one are one of the things I love about personal injury law,” Tampa of John Bales said. “This is exactly the type of case that could be used to not only make some changes to the legal system, but also to general health care. If the Supreme Court rules against the doctor in this case, I think it will encourage doctors to pay more attention to their patients who are struggling to live with depression.”

If you feel that you suffered as a direct result of your doctor failing to provide you with the best possible medical care, book a consultation appointment with John Bales Attorneys and we’ll take a look at your case.