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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on November 20th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review

CASES

Obstetrician and Gynecological Associates v. Hardin
A man filed a Deceptive Trade Practices Action against a fertility clinic alleging the clinic released his cryopreserved sperm without authorization and used it to inseminate his then-girlfriend. The clinic sought dismissal on the basis that the claim was a health care liability claim and no expert report was served. The Houston appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the clinic’s motion to dismiss. The court found that the clinic offered no evidence that it was a licensed health care provider, and as such, could not establish that the claim was a health care liability claim.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa v. Botello
A patient who non-suited her claim against a hospital re-filed after sending an expert report to the hospital’s attorney. The hospital sought dismissal on the basis that the deadline for an expert report had expired by the time the second lawsuit was filed. The San Antonio appellate court upheld the trial court’s dismissal, holding that a non-suited defendant is no longer a party and delivery of an expert report to the hospital’s attorney did not satisfy Chapter 74’s expert report requirements.

Alonzo v. Lampkin
A hysterectomy patient who filed suit against her surgeon appealed the summary judgment of her claim, arguing that the trial court’s ruling striking her untimely designated expert amounted to an inappropriate sanction. The Amarillo appellate court affirmed, holding that the scheduling order the parties agreed to qualified as a Rule 11 agreement and the trial court had a ministerial duty to enforce the deadline for designating experts.

CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth v. Guillory
A visitor who slipped on water in a hospital hallway filed a premises liability suit and the hospital sought dismissal on the basis that no expert report was filed. The Beaumont appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss, concluding that the visitor’s claim did not implicate any standards of health care and as such did not qualify as a health care liability claim.

Shoemaker v. Lorenz
The family of a patient alleging a wrongful death claim against a physician and hospital appealed the summary judgment dismissal of their claim arguing that the statute of limitations did not apply because the hospital did not comply with their request for medical records. The Corpus Christi appellate court affirmed, finding that the plaintiffs offered no affidavit or other evidence to support a fraudulent concealment defense to the statute of limitations.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Klingslick
The family of a lung transplant recipient filed suit against the medical center that performed the operation alleging that it had stored the lung in preservation fluid that had a dangerously elevated pH level. The medical center sought dismissal on the basis that the family’s expert report was inadequate. The Dallas appellate court held the expert adequately described his opinions that the medical center breached the standard of care by not verifying that preservation fluid with an appropriate pH level was used, and that damage from the fluid contributed to the patient’s death.

Lahiq v. Rosemond
A sepsis patient who experienced debilitating contractures filed suit against a physician he alleged should have recognized the development of the contractures and ordered range-of-motion therapy during his hospitalization. The Houston appellate court reversed the trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss. It found that the patient’s expert report was conclusory, noting that contractures were not noted in the patient’s medical record until 28 months after his hospitalization and the expert’s opinion that the condition could have been detected earlier was speculative.

NEWS

Medicare Penalizes Almost 1,500 Hospitals
Almost 1,500 hospitals were assessed penalties by Medicare pursuant to the quality of care system established under recent federal health law. About 1,200 hospitals will receive increased reimbursements based on two-dozen quality measurements, including patient satisfaction and death rates.

Nurse Education, Experience Impact PICU Mortality
A study of 38 children’s hospitals found that nursing education and experience significantly impact the outcome for patients who underwent cardiac surgery. The researchers recommend that there be no more than 20% of nurses with less than two years of clinical experience in pediatric ICUs to decrease mortality rates and noted that nurse education preparation at the baccalaureate level or higher improved mortality rates.

Nurse Home Visits Decrease Infant Emergency Care
Home visits from nurses decrease the number of emergency care episodes, according to a study published in Pediatrics. The study focused on a program in which nurses visit new parents to check on the health of the mother and newborn, offer advice on breast-feeding and child care, and screen for post-partum depression. Families who received home visits experienced 50% fewer emergency care episodes over the course of a year compared to a control group.

Hospital Inpatient Days Expected to Increase 19% by 2025
Researchers using a computer model predict hospital inpatient days will increase by 19% by 2025, largely as a result of an increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases associated with aging.

Women Admitted for Pregnancy Face High Clot Risk
Pregnant women admitted to the hospital for reasons other than delivery face a substantially increased risk of serious blood clots, according to a study published in BMJ.

Physician Demand to Increase by a Third by 2025
Increased access to health insurance and an aging population are expected to increase physician demand by up to a third by 2025. However, the anticipated physician shortage may not be as bad as feared. The expanded role nurse practitioners and physicians assistants are playing in health care may reduce the expected physician shortage by as much as 50%, according to a recent study.

NY Medical Residents Receive Most Support
New York medical residents receive 20% of Medicare’s graduate medical funding, while 29 other states receive less than 1% even though some are experiencing severe physician shortages. Researchers attribute the disparity to a rigid funding formula that needs to be revised.

CHRISTUS, Cantex to Develop Nursing Home in South Texas Medical Center
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and Cantex Continuing Care Network have partnered to develop a new skilled nursing facility that will be located next to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital — Medical Center. The 66,000 square-foot post-acute transitional care and rehabilitation center will provide advanced therapy and medical care to patients.

Study: Sleepy Surgeons Still Perform Well
A study of 10,000 gall bladder operations performed in Ontario found that sleep deprived surgeons did not perform poorly verses when they had received a full night’s rest. Surgeons who had performed an emergency operation the night before a planned procedure were not found to have made an increased number of mistakes.

Feds Boost Mental Health Access
Federal officials have announced new rules intended to improve access to mental health treatment. The rules will require insurance companies to charge similar co-payments regardless of whether treatment is for physical or mental health.

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