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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on June 17th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Chevira v. Lezonia
A critically ill woman experiencing a septic miscarriage filed suit against the ED physicians who treated her, alleging they did not timely evaluate and treat her sepsis before it progressed to septic shock. The defendants challenged the adequacy of an OB/GYN’s expert report on the basis that he was not qualified to opine on the practice of Emergency Medicine. The Dallas appellate court found the OB/GYN’s experience treating pregnant women with similar complications qualified him to opine on the standard of care.

Sadler Clinic Association v. Hart
Physicians under contract with a clinic filed suit to have their non-compete clauses declared unenforceable. The trial court held that the covenants were not enforceable on the basis that they did not include a reasonable buyout provision. The Beaumont appellate court reversed, noting that if the buyout provisions were not adequate the proper remedy is to submit to binding arbitration to determine a reasonable buyout price.

Novamed Surgery Center of Tyler v. Bochow
Two physicians under contract with an ambulatory surgery center filed suit to have their non-compete clauses declared unenforceable on the basis that they did not include buyout provisions as required by state law. The trial court declared the agreement unenforceable. On appeal the center argued that the state statute requiring buyout provisions to be included in non-compete agreements with physicians was inapplicable because the agreements related to ownership interests in surgery centers and did not restrict the practice of medicine. The Tyler appellate court held that the 2001 statute at issue applied to the agreements and that under the plain language of the statute the agreements were required to include buyout provisions to be enforceable.

Women’s Clinic of Southeast Texas v. Alonzo
A patient who filed suit against a woman’s clinic later amended her claim to include a theory of vicarious liability. The defendant clinic objected to the expert report associated with the direct liability claims and the direct liability claim was subsequently dismissed on appeal. The defendant clinic later objected to the lack of an expert report addressing the patient’s vicarious liability claims. The Corpus Christi appellate court held that because the defendant clinic did not raise its objections to the vicarious liability claims during its earlier appeal it had waived its opportunity to challenge these claims.

San Jacinto Methodist Hospital v. McCoy
A patient who underwent a partial appendectomy sued the surgeon who performed the procedure and the hospital, alleging its nurse should have informed the surgeon that he had only removed a portion of the patient’s appendix. The hospital sought dismissal on the basis that the standard of care described by the plaintiff’s expert would require that the nurse engage in the unauthorized practice of medicine. The Houston appellate court found the report adequate and concluded that the standard of care described by plaintiff’s expert did not necessarily constitute the unauthorized practice of medicine.


Texas Children’s Hospital to Open Pediatric Kidney Stone Clinic
Texas Children’s Hospital has announced plans to open the state’s first pediatric kidney stone clinic. The clinic will include a pediatric urologist, pediatric nephrologist, and a registered renal dietician who will work together to evaluate patients who either have kidney stones or are at risk for developing stones.

James T. Hackett named chair at Baylor College of Medicine
The Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees has named businessman James T. Hackett as its chair. Mr. Hackett is retiring from Andarko Petroleum Corp, where he has chaired the board and worked as CEO.

Houston Hospitals Score Well in US News & World Report Rankings
US News & World Report ranked Texas Children’s Hospital fourth in its list of Best Children’s Hospitals. The hospital was also ranked number 3 nationwide in the Cardiology and Heart Surgery specialty and for Pulmonology.

The magazine also ranked The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center first in its list of Best Cancer Hospitals and TIRR Memorial Hermann at number 3 on its list of Rehabilitation Hospitals.

Medical Board Considers Stem Cell Rules
The Texas Medical Board has met to discuss guidelines for the state’s adult stem cell industry. The proposed rules would include safeguards for patients, such as informed consent forms that discuss what treatments patients are receiving and a requirement to establish internal review boards that could deny a physicians’ proposed use of stem cells.

Study Finds Doctors Falling Short of Standards for Electronic Health Records
Fewer than one in 10 doctors used electronic health records in accordance with US standards for “meaningful use,” a list of tasks that includes tracking referrals and filling prescriptions online.

Justices Strike Down Gene Patents
The Supreme Court has unanimously held that human genes cannot be patented, even when isolated from the body. The case involved two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that can be examined to determine if a patient faces a significant likelihood of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling is expected to lower the cost of this screening test as other health providers begin to offer it.

Study Finds Patients’ Feelings Toward Obese Doctors are Mixed
Patients are more likely to trust overweight doctors when discussing diet advice, but they are also more likely to feel that an obese physician is judging them about their weight, according to a recent study. The study’s author noted that most doctors are not trained in weight loss counseling and tend to avoid discussing the subject with their patients and overweight physicians often feel less confident discussing diet and exercise.

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