New statistics on medical malpractice in the country will make many patients wonder if they are going to be safe in hospitals or are they risking their lives. Hospitals and doctors provide services such as attending, diagnosing, referring, treating and instructing the patient. If a doctor breaches the duty of care resulting in the patient suffering injuries, the doctor can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines the rules and laws that that govern “Healthcare Liability Claims”.
A Healthcare Liability claim is :
“a cause of action against a health care provider or physician for treatment, lack of treatment or other claimed departure from accepted standards of medical care, or health care, or safety or professional and administrative services directly related to health care, which proximately results in injury to or death of the claimant, whether the claimant’s claim or cause of action sounds in tort or contract”.
National Cancer Institute defines Standard of Care as:
“Treatment that is accepted by medical experts as a proper treatment for a certain type of disease and that is widely used by health care professionals”.
Medical Malpractice can be defined as any act or omission by a physician/health care provider during the treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes injury to the patient.
If you or your loved one has been injured during a botched medical procedure in Houston or anywhere in Texas due to the carelessness or negligence of a doctor or healthcare provider, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages.
By enlisting the services of a Houston medical Malpractice Lawyer, you have various processes and procedures involved in your case handled by an professional.
SOME IMPORTANT FACTS AND STATISTICS ON MEDICAL MALPRACTICES IN TEXAS AND THE UNITED STATES.
- A recent John Hopkins study claims that more than 250,000 people in the country die of medical errors every year.
- 78% of all medical malpractice claims do not result in any pay-out.
- Only 2% of those suffering from medical malpractice file claims for compensation in the country.
- A majority of medical malpractice lawsuits took 1 to 2 years to reach their end.
- Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the country after heart diseases and cancer (pre-covid).
- 99% of physicians face at least one lawsuit by the age of 65.
- Over 8% of doctors account for 54.2% of malpractice errors.
- While the cost of medical malpractice insurance to healthcare providers Is only $1.9 billion per year, the costs resulting from preventable medical errors to patients and their families is between $17 billion to 29 billion per year.
- Failure to diagnose/ delayed diagnosis is the cause of 33% of medical malpractice cases.
- According to Center for Disease Control, 70,000 deaths per year can be attributed to hospital infections.
- Texas has one of the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.
- Medicaid regulations are the toughest in Texas.
- Texas is considered an unfavorable place to practice among doctors and health care providers.
- Texas has one primary care doctor per 1,642 residents.
- Payouts in Texas medical malpractice claims are some of the lowest in the country.
- In a bi-annual survey in 2020 by Leapfrog Group, a non-profit healthcare watchdog organization, 17 out of 40 Houston Hospitals got a ‘A’ grade.
- All 7 Houston Methodist locations received ‘A’ grades in the Leapfrog survey.
- St Luke’s Patients Medical Center in Pasadena received a ‘D’ grade.
- Rest of the Houston hospitals landed a ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade.
- Houston has 3.35 healthcare workers for every 100 residents.
- Houston is home to Texas Medical Center, which is considered the world biggest medical facility. 106,000 people work at more than 60 institutions within it.
- Despite Houston’s reputation as a medical hub, the metro region is witnessing an escalating shortage of doctors and nurses.
PROVING LIABILITY IN AN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM IN HOUSTON, TX.
The following four elements which are popularly known as the Four Ds of Medical Malpractice need be proven in a medical malpractice claim:
DUTY OF REASONABLE CARE WAS OWED BY THE DOCTOR.
In a medical malpractice claim, the first element which a patient must prove Is that the doctor owed him or her a duty of care. This duty arises from a doctor-patient relationship, in which the doctor assumes the obligations associated with caring for the patient.
DERELICTION FROM THE STANDARD OF CARE.
The patient must prove that the care rendered by the doctor was substandard and unreasonable. It can also mean that, though the act was appropriate, it was performed in a negligent manner. The negligence or deviation from the desired standard of care led to the patient sustaining injury and damages.
DAMAGES SUFFERED BY THE PATIENT.
The patient must have suffered some injury in order to give rise to a claim for damages.
The patient has to prove the direct link between the negligence and the injury. A negligent act that does not result in an injury is not sufficient to constitute a legal claim. The defendant’s negligence must have caused or contributed to the patient’s injuries.
COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE.
Some leading types of medical malpractice in the state of Texas are listed below:
- Delayed Diagnosis.
- Birth Injuries.
- Failure to treat.
- Hospital Infections.
- Medical Product Liability.
- Misreading lab or imaging results.
- Administering an improper medical dosage.
- Failing to provide adequate follow-up care.
- Discharging a patient too soon.
- Surgical Errors.
Examples of surgical errors that may constitute a malpractice include:
- Performing incorrect procedure.
- Performing unnecessary surgery.
- Damaging organs, nerves or tissues during surgery.
- Administrating incorrect amount of anaesthesia.
- Using non-sterile surgical instruments.
- Leaving medical equipment inside patients.
HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS THAT ARE HELD LIABLE FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN TEXAS.
Healthcare providers who fall under the protection of chapter 74 include:
- Registered Nurses.
- Healthcare institutions which include:
- Hospitals and Hospital systems.
- Hospice centers.
- Surgical centers.
- Nursing homes.
- Facilities for the intellectually disabled.
- Dialysis centers.
(NOTE: The directors, partners, officers, members, employees, and independent contractors of these facilities are also included in the definition).
Medical fraternity in Texas is very powerful and has managed to lobby and get the state legislature to draft and pass special rules that benefit health care providers. It is safe to say that these laws are designed to safeguard the interests of the healthcare providers.
Under Texas laws, you are required to send a Pre-Suit Notice. Each doctor or healthcare provider against whom a claim is made should be served a written Notice of a Healthcare Liability Claim at least 60 days prior to the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Texas Courts can abate a lawsuit if such a Notice is not served.
FILING AN EXPERT REPORT.
The Claimant /Plaintiff has 120 days to respond with an Expert Report after each defendant doctor or healthcare provider has received notification of the lawsuit and filed a reply.
The Expert Report must contain a summary of the Expert’s educated opinion covering the following:
- The applicable Standard of Care.
- The manner in which the doctor or healthcare provider violated the Standard of Care.
- The direct relationship between the breach of the Standard of Care and injuries and damages suffered and duly claimed.
The Experts from whom opinion is sought are usually practicing doctors who possess the qualifications and training to render an expert opinion.
Failure to file the Expert opinion can lead to dismissal of the lawsuit without the provision of re-filing the lawsuit in the future.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FILE AN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT IN TEXAS.
Statutes of Limitations set the time period within which a victim of a medical malpractice must file a lawsuit. Statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years in the State of Texas. Statute of limitations grants an injured person sufficient time to investigate the source and the nature of an injury, consult with and retain an attorney and also file a complaint with the party responsible for the injury and attempt to settle the matter before resorting to trial.
The strict procedural requirements in medical malpractice laws in Texas reflect a legislative determination to curtail frivolous claims, promote settlements and reduce high costs of medical malpractice Insurance.
COMPENSATION FOR A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN HOUSTON.
Our team of Houston medical malpractice lawyers strive to get maximum compensation for a victim of medical malpractice and help him or her explore other options and alternative ways to seek additional compensation for injuries sustained.
Our attorneys help victims recover compensatory damages mentioned below:
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Estimated future medical expenses.
- Out of pocket expenditure.
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
The cap in Texas is $250,000 for non-economic damages in any lawsuit against a doctor or a healthcare provider, regardless of the number of doctors or healthcare providers. If one or more hospitals are liable, then an additional $250,000 can be recovered as non-economic damages.
There is no cap on economic damages.
Our Houston malpractice attorneys are relentless in their pursuit of securing maximum compensation through verdicts and settlements for victims of medical malpractices in Houston and all across Texas.
THE LAW OFFICE OF SHANE R. KADLEC – WHY CHOOSE US?
It is ironic that people are dying from the care that they receive rather than the medical condition or disease for which they are seeking care and treatment.
The Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec has been providing accurate, ethical and cost-effective legal services to residents of Houston for 25 years.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, doctors have acquired Hero status. Nobody wants to be the one to sue these heroes. The success rate of medical malpractice cases in Texas is abysmal and it deters many attorneys from taking up such cases, but not us. We are ready to put our extensive experience, knowledge and resources behind your case. Such desire and commitment to serve local communities has been instrumental in our firm achieving unparalleled success by winning claims worth millions of dollars in Houston and all across Texas.
Our team of medical malpractice lawyers carry out the following duties for our clients:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the medical malpractice case.
- Consult medical and legal experts.
- Construct a clear record of the patient’s medical history.
- Identify liable parties.
- Determine the value of the claim.
- Coordinate and communicate with legal representatives of the defendant/s.
- Strive for a fair settlement on victim’s behalf.
- Take the case to trial if required.
IMPORTANCE OF BOARD-CERTIFICATION FOR AN ATTORNEY.
Clients can be hesitant to trust lawyers with their cases. A Board Certification indicates that an attorney is highly regarded and proficient in his or her work. It gives potential clients additional confidence and insight while selecting an attorney for representation.
Obtaining a certification in Texas is not easy and requires a lot of dedication from the participating attorney. It takes a substantial investment of time and money.
Board-certified Attorney Shane R. Kadlec offers knowledgeable guidance, customized legal services and detailed representation for clients in Houston. He is known to build a personalized case strategy that reflects a client’s legal objectives.
Houston medical malpractice Lawyer Shane R. Kadlec earned his certification in personal injury trial law from Texas Board for Legal Specialization in 2003 and his re-certification in 2008, 2013, and 2018 respectively.
CONTACT AN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER IN HOUSTON.
All medical malpractice cases handled by the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec are taken up on a contingency basis, which means our clients pay nothing unless we win their case or settle it.
Talk to an experienced Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney at our office if you have suffered injuries and damages due to the negligence and carelessness of an doctor or healthcare provider. We have decades of experience and understanding of malpractice laws to put behind your case.