Clear Lake Medical Malpractice Suits - A Sampling
In the last decade the Texas Legislature has been active in passing so-called “tort reform” legislation. A primary target of this legislation has been medical malpractice litigation. Nonetheless, medical malpractice suits continue to be filed against healthcare providers in the Houston Bay Area. Clear Lake Regional Medical Center is one of the areas Houston’s largest healthcare providers. The following is a short summary of active medical malpractice suits against it:
1. A 2012 suit claiming that alleged substandard care on the part of the hospital (as well as three doctors and several nurses) led to a newborn’s suffering “severe neurological injuries”.
2. A 2011 wrongful death suit. In this case, the survivors of the deceased patient claim that he was transported to the hospital with a history of increasing abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They allege that his blood testing showed several abnormal values and that his CT scans showed a partial bowel obstruction. The fact of the obstruction was allegedly communicated among the physicians who treated him. In spite of this, they claim, the obstruction worsened and one physician ordered him to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, a medication which was allegedly contraindicated for the patient because it is known to cause gastrointestinal bleeding and intestinal perforation. They claim that his condition worsened, that he developed respiratory distress and sepsis. In spite of surgery his condition declined further and he expired, with the immediate cause of death noted by a physician to be a perforated small bowel due to hernia, with acute renal failure, sepsis and shock as contributing causes.
3. A 2011 case in which Plaintiff claims that she underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy during which her ureters were severed.
4. A 2011 case brought by the survivors of a patient who was brought to the hospital and allegedly told that he needed gallstone surgery. He was allegedly given blood pressure medication and several other medications, in spite of the fact that he was wearing a nitroglycerin patch. The suit papers claim that he complained of symptoms consistent with a heart attack, but that he received “no response from the nursing staff”. His daughter allegedly reminded the nursing staff that he was wearing a nitroglycerin patch and that one nurse ordered another to remove it. He then allegedly never regained consciousness and passed away. The suit claims, among other things, that the hospital administered medications contraindicated in a patient wearing a nitro patch, failed to removed medications that could cause hypotension, failed to evaluate and treat his hypotension (low blood pressure) and failed to remove medications that could cause hypotension.
Clear Lake Regional is a large and busy facility (all three of my sons were born there). The fact that there are only four active medical malpractice suits against it may suggest that either (1) the quality of the care is good or (2) Texas tort reform litigation has been very effective in reducing the number of medical malpractice suits filed against it.