On behalf of Hastings Law Firm posted in Hospital Negligence on Friday, May 9, 2014.

In instances when a patient believes that they were injured due to a hospital wrongly granting credentials to an unqualified doctor, doing so may prove to be a difficult task. After a 1996 Texas Supreme Court ruling, records of hospital credentials were made confidential. In a further attempt to make legal recourse more difficult for patients suffering from hospital negligence, a bill modified a hospital’s role in instances of medical malpractice.

House Bill 4 changed the meaning of the word malice in legal terms as it pertains to cases of malpractice. Previously, it had included acts of gross negligence, such as wrongly providing credentials to a doctor that in turn harmed a patient. Now, an individual alleging hospital negligence is required to prove that the hospital intended to specifically cause harm to that specific patient.

However, four victims of botched surgeries that were performed at a Texas hospital are hoping to change that. As discussed on this blog on April 11, 2014, a neurosurgeon has been accused of operating on patients while under the influence of drugs, and some claim that the hospital knew about it all along. New details suggest that Baylor Regional Medical Center may have allowed the surgeon to continue operating on patients because of a $600,000 advance that they had paid him to relocate to Texas from Tennessee. One lawsuit alleges that if the hospital had cut the surgeon’s credentials, they wouldn’t have earned back the money they spent recruiting him.

While the current wording of the law may appear to make these four victims’ lawsuit more difficult, if the allegations of hospital negligence are proved to be true, and Baylor allowed the neurosurgeon to continue operating while using drugs, it may be possible for the law to hold them liable. Victims of medical malpractice due to either a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence might be facing similar setbacks as these four, such as life-long injuries and significant medical bills. A successfully presented medical malpractice claim concerning a doctor’s negligence can be a solid first step toward recovery for victims who have been injured.

Source: The Guardian, “Licensed to kill: lawsuit seeks to overturn Texas hospital shield law”, Saul Elbein, May 2, 2014