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According to Bob Moss, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, two serious violations, one resulting in death, triggered an inspection of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The violations related to infection control and emergency care issues putting Parkside in “immediate jeopardy” status, “the most severe finding in a hospital”, said Moss. If Parkland does not provide acceptable correction plans by August 20, 2011 and complete those plans by August 24, 2011, it will be unable to participate in the Medicare program.

If that doesn’t jolt Texans into understanding what Governor Rick Perry is doing to the state consider this:

Texas neurosurgeon, Stefan Konasiewicz is on trial in Minnesota stemming from a medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit. Konasiewicz has left a trail of medical incompetence in Minnesota that has resulted in nine medical malpractice lawsuits, some involving patient deaths, as well as a public reprimand by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Rather than face the music in Minnesota, Konasiewicz fled to Texas where lax oversight and an unjustly reformed legal system allowed him to practice medicine.

How does this happen? The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is not required to disclose cases of medical malpractice when a doctor moves from another state. In fact, they are not required to look into cases. You read that correctly, the Texas Medical Board does not check to see if a doctor moving from another state has a track record of seriously injuring or killing patients. The responsibility to disclose malpractice cases rests solely on the doctor. If the doctor does not report his/her own medical negligence, patients are left in the dark. And, it gets better. Thanks to Governor Perry, if you are injured, or worse, it is nearly impossible to seek justice because the state tort reform severely reduces a doctor’s accountability for negligence. Feel safe now?

According to the TMB, all state medical boards have full access to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which lists malpractice cases and disciplinary actions taken against doctors, but because the NPDB charges for queries it is rarely, if ever done. Why? Because it would cost the state an estimated $160,000 a year to check on every doctor licensed in the state. There you have it; in Texas, your life is not worth $160,000.

Sadly, Texas has become a safe haven for dangerous doctors. They can erase previous harm done in another state, then avoid accountability for harm caused in the future. If you were a doctor with a history of committing malpractice, wouldn’t you move to Texas? Unfortunately for Texas, until anti-justice tort reformers are legislatively reversed these stories won’t stop.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

37 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell
    Cilla Mitchell

    You wrote "in Texas your life is not worth $160,000."

    May I take the liberty and go one step further and state, in Texas your life is not worth a plug nickle under the 2003 Texas Tort Reform Act.

    The only way family members will ever get retribution and justice for negligence caused by incompetent doctors is to take justice in their own hands. Unfortunately, getting retribution and justice through the judicial system is no longer a viable option because of the 2003 Tort Reform Act Governor Rick Perry signed.

    I dare anyone seeing the video I had to make in order to (excuse my language) piss off the hospital that allowed my husband to rot in their emergency room without administering even the Basic Standard of Care. Nobody was accountable in the scenario my video documented, and even after three years, if they think I walked away from what happened, they are sadly mistaken.

    If you have 9 minutes to watch a video, Google Cleveland Mark Mitchell, then click on youtube Cleveland Mark Mitchell December 12 1950 - April 26 2008.

    Thank you for your time,

    cilla Mitchell

    A Texas nurse and vet

  2. Gravatar for Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC IAS
    Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC IAS

    Good morning- I can see that you are all wound up re Texas and it all must be rotten to the core.

    Debakey and Cooley invented heart transplants and aortic graft technology. SW Med School in Dallas has several Noble laureates. Md Anderson is a world class Cancer Hospital. I am from NY originally and recall as a kid regarding all of the innovation from Texas.

    The Texas congresswomen, shot in the head, came to Houston for Rehab. So did Dr. K from Minnesota. Really do not know the full story there. If he is insured, maybe there is more to the story. Just throwing a little balance your way. Dont throw the baby out with the diaper. Maybe another Denton Cooley moved to Texas.

    RE unjust reforms. There are reforms that were voted on and passed. Your disagreement with them does not make them unjust.

    There are hundreds more docs in Texas, specifically due to reforms. They must all be criminals running away from the law in other states like Minnesota. Is that remotely fair or just unjust?

    The eradication of medical errors is an admirable but unreachable goal and can only be addressed one case at a time.

    Regards

    Jim OHare RPLU AIC AIS

    Dir of Claims

    Medicus.

  3. Mark Bello

    Interesting that the vast majority of the positive things you mention came BEFORE Rick Perry and tort reform. I'm sure that there are many fine doctors in Texas. The good ones, the ones who don't get sued, time and again, do not lobby for tort reform, except in the context of their malpractice insurance rates.

  4. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell
    Cilla Mitchell

    Jim,

    You are changing the subject and preaching to the choir. I am very well aware of the medical advances and contributions from this state.

    As Mr. Bello stated, this was before Rick Perry and tort reform.

    Yes Jim, when people are not held accountable for what they do or not do because laws make it impossible to get accountability, I guess that tends to put a fire up my gluteal maximus.

    Thank you,

    Cilla Mitchell

  5. Gravatar for Mary Alice McLarty
    Mary Alice McLarty

    The Dallas Morning News also ran a front page story last Fall about a woman who got an infection after knee surgery at Parkland and ended up having most of her leg amputated. (One of the findings of the inspection team from CMS was that the lack of hand-washing was endangering the patients.) She could not find a lawyer to represent her because of the caps on damages. Even sadder is that she was a long time employee of Parkland Hospital. Shameful!

  6. Wayne Parsons

    The evidence continues to mount. Jamie Stengle, of the Associated Press, reports in Forbes - [http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/08/10/general-tx-parkland-hospital-medicare-threatened_8617785.html]that a Texas hospital has become so unsafe for patients that the Feds may step in -

    "The federal government said after an inspection at Parkland Memorial Hospital found conditions that were a "serious threat" to patient safety, the public hospital will not be able to participate in the Medicare program without coming up with correction plans.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a letter sent to Parkland Tuesday that if it doesn't provide acceptable correction plans by Aug. 20 and complete those plans by Aug. 24, the Dallas County hospital will no longer be part of the Medicare program as of Sept. 2.

    "It is rare for the government to take such action," CMS spokesman Bob Moos said Wednesday. "Two Parkland violations relating to infection control and emergency care issues are so serious that they triggered `immediate jeopardy' status. That is the most severe finding we can have in a hospital, and it requires immediate attention."

    I hate to disappoint the medical industry apologists like Jim O'Hare, but they are puttuing patient lives at stake by continuing to waste energy deceiving the public about the injuries and deaths that are rising as a result of tort reform. Instead they should be telling doctors and hospitals to clean up their acts, get rid of the reckless incompetent doctors and spend the money necessary to make hospitals safe. Do they really think the public believes that they can't make money? Come on. The doctors in Honolulu are among the most well paid citizens of this state, their kids go to private school, they live in the best neighborhoods and their 401k's are plush with money. The folks who run the hospitals are also doing very well. I applaud folks like Rep. Renee Ellmers (R. N.C.) who is asking to looking into hospital safety as a way of stemming injury and death from medical errors. See: Bret Hanna's article:

    http://saltlakecity.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/a-right-correct-thinking-republican.aspx?googleid=293166

    I give my full support lawsuit reduction by safety improvements and prevention, not by giving bad doctors and hospitals a break with tort reform. Come on Texas. You have some of the most famous medical centers in the world and Texas doctors have changed the world with new life saving techniques. But you have a problem, created by tort reform, that is sullying the reputation of the profession, and will steer patients away from your hospitals. Who from the Texas medical profession will speak up and put patient safety above profits?

  7. Gravatar for Avenger
    Avenger

    If an attorney will not take a case because of a damages cap, what that really tells you is that they are ONLY in it for the money, and platitudes like "For The People" (used by a prominent FLorida ambulance chaser) is nothing more than a slogan

  8. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell
    Cilla Mitchell

    Avenger:

    It takes money to take on a case. No lawyer will take a case they think they can not win.

    If a case has a monetary cap on it placed by the Tort Reform Act and it takes more money than that to generate it, it is not economically feasible.

    I have to apologize Avenger, I am a nurse and not a lawyer. I have stepped out of my element. However, in a short period of time right after my husband was expeditiously killed in the UTMB ER in Galveston, Texas, many lawyers told me every reason why they could not take the case. It all had to do with Tort Reform.

  9. Mark Bello

    Avenger: Your use of the phrase "ambulance chaser" tells me where your sympathies lie. Do lawyers do what they do and expect to be paid for it? Yes. So do doctors. Do the good ones in both professions do what they do to help real people with real problems? Absolutely. Why don't you research how much money Dr. K made for all of the surgeries he botched? That an attorney makes money, incidentally, while helping someone who has gone through a terrible, completely preventable, ordeal, is not the point. The bad doctors can move to more "bad doctor friendly" venues to continue to botch surgeries is dangerous and scary. It reminds me of how Church heirarchy used to transfer pedophile priests (without notice of prior conduct to the new community) after these predators molested children. Which is worse? A repeat offender, bad doctor, or a lawyer who makes a fee for helping one of his victims? If you can't answer that question appropriately, there is no hope for you. All people like you can do is keep voting for tort deform morons like Rick Perry and hope that you never run into the likes of Dr. K.

  10. Gravatar for Avenger
    Avenger

    My sympathies are are with justice - nowhere in my post did I advocate creating safe havens for bad doctors (or pedophile priests, for that matter). Unfortunately sometimes there is no justice to be had without creating another injustice, and I have never believed that "two wrongs make a right".

    I also have never advocated caps on economic damages and to the extent that tort reform creates caps on economic damages, I am opposed to that sort of tort reform. However, I am also opposed to the wild west environment that our civil litigation system has become, and I think installing "loser pays" and eliminating "contributory negligence" and "joint and several liability" in those states where those antique doctrines still exist, would do a lot toward restoring accountability to the system.

    p.s - you may think that there is "no hope" for me but I'm exactly the kind of person you'd like to have as a next door neighbor - quiet, keeps to myself,doesn't try to duck jury duty (I've served six times), never been arrested for anything but there for my friends and neighbors in an emergency (I lost count of the number of trees I removed or helped remove from people's cars and driveways in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley in 2004 andsince then

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