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A Florida judge on Monday blocked a just-approved state constitutional amendment that would yank the license of doctors who commit three acts of medical malpractice, saying some specifics need to be spelled out before it can take effect. The amendment, known informally as the “three strikes for bad doctors” measure, was approved by 70 percent of voters earlier this month. Circuit Judge Janet E. Ferris agreed in part with hospitals that sued to block the amendment from taking effect until some aspects of it can be clarified, most likely by the Legislature or by the courts. Ferris barred the amendment from going into effect while she considers arguments presented by the hospitals and the state, which is charged with enforcing the measure, and by a group called Floridians for Patient Protection, which pushed to get the issue on the ballot. An industry group representing hospitals argued that the amendment’s requirements are not clear. It is seeking clarification of questions such as whether its effects are retroactive for doctors who already have had “three strikes,” what doctors are included and what agency is responsible for revoking licenses. Ferris said her injunction will expire at the end of the upcoming legislative session in the spring, meaning that if lawmakers don’t pass a law putting more specifics into the measure and if there hasn’t been a court ruling in the interim, the amendment could then go into effect. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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