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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on March 10th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review

CASES

Gelber v. Hamilton
A surgeon accused of failing to detect complications from a gallbladder operation appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss. The surgeon complained that the expert report did not adequately describe how the standard of care was breached. The Houston appellate court found that the report was adequate, noting that the expert described how the surgeon’s failure to identify and repair surgical injuries contributed to the patient’s subsequent infection and other post-operative complications.

Hebert v. Hopkins
A patient who underwent spinal surgery filed suit alleging a neurosurgeon’s negligence contributed to screws pulling out and spinal cord damage. The Austin appellate court upheld the dismissal of the case, noting that the expert report was internally inconsistent. The expert opined that the surgeon should have performed the procedure with multilevel posterior internal fixation, but subsequently acknowledged that there are “clinical situations” in which anterior only instrumentation is appropriate. The expert did not elaborate on when this apparent exception applies. The court also rejected constitutional challenges to the expert report requirement, concluding that Chapter 74 does not violate due process, the separation of powers doctrine, or impede litigants’ access to open courts.

Good Shepherd Medical Center v. Twilley
A hospital employee who fell from a ladder filed a premises liability suit against the hospital. After the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Texas West Oaks Hospital v. Williams broadened the scope of Chapter 74 with respect to claims involving “safety”, the hospital sought to dismiss the case on the basis that no expert report was served. The Texarkana appellate court upheld the trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss, concluding that because the allegations were not even indirectly related to health care Chapter 74 did not apply. The court distinguished Williams, noting that the claims involved in that case were indirectly related to healthcare.

Lasik v. LCA Vision
A laser eye surgery clinic filed suit seeking to enjoin a physician from operating a rival clinic prior to the expiration of an 18-month covenant not to compete. The clinic’s request for a temporary injunction was denied and it sought a writ of injunction from the appellate court to preserve its good will during the pendency of appeal regarding the temporary injunction. The Houston appellate court declined to issue a writ of injunction, concluding that the writ was not necessary to preserve the clinic’s rights during the pendency of its appeal.

NEWS

TCH, Baylor, CHRISTUS to Partner on Children’s Hospital
Texas Children’s Hospital, the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System, and Baylor College of Medicine have partnered to open a new children’s hospital in downtown San Antonio. CHRISTUS will own and operate the facility, while Baylor will recruit, employ and oversee faculty and physicians. Texas Children’s Hospital will provide consultative advice and clinical expertise for the hospital.

Texas Tech Opens Nursing School
Texas Tech University has unveiled a new, $12 million nursing school in Abilene. Hendrick Health System helped build the facility, which features classrooms, laboratories, and a large simulation center where students can receive hands-on training.

Report Encourages Nursing Migration in North, Central America
The authors of a report touting the benefits of nursing migration anticipate that efforts to facilitate migration can help ameliorate health disparities throughout the Americas. The authors’ recommendations include investing in educational systems, facilitating the credentialing of nurses across borders, and integrating transitional educational programs as part of the credentialing process for internationally educated nurses.

EHR Adoption by Hospitals Nears 50%
The number of hospitals that have adopted electronic health records reached 44% in 2012, triple the number of facilities that reported using EHRs in 2009.

Family of Woman Who Died After CPR Refused Satisfied With Care
The death of a resident at a continuing care community garnered nationwide attention after the release of a 911 call recording in which a caregiver appears to refuse to provide CPR. The woman’s family has explained that she did not want to receive life-prolonging medical interventions. The resident died from a stroke and it appears unlikely that CPR would have prevented her death.

EHR ‘Information Overload’ Contributes to Errors
A survey of primary-care practitioners revealed that 30% have missed important test results due to information overload associated with electronic health records.

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