Gross negligence in Texas malpractice cases

Having to go to a hospital is usually an experience that raises as many questions while also providing answers. For an expecting mother in Texas, a hospital stay can offer reassurance that a pregnancy is progressing as planned, but it can also bring up many questions about pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery after birth. In some cases, delivery room negligence during or before birth may cause pregnancy-related injuries - these injuries, in turn, can spark the need for more information regarding negligence in Texas law.

For severe birth injury and pregnancy-related injury cases, a family might encounter the term "gross negligence." As defined by the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, gross negligence means either an act or an omission which entails an "extreme degree" of risk when viewed in an objective manner at the time of occurrence. The risk refers to potential harm done to a patient - in particular, the magnitude and probability of such harm.

The second part of the definition of gross negligence involves the actor - the medical professional accused of gross negligence - being aware of the risk but proceeding anyway. A doctor who is aware of the substantial risk of harm to a patient but continues anyway may be consciously indifferent to the safety or rights of others; in such a situation the doctor may be grossly negligent.

It's important to know that OB/GYN negligence can still occur without gross negligence being involved. There are different types of negligence, but all can cause harm to a mother or baby. A Texas medical malpractice attorney can offer legal advice regarding how to determine if negligence occurred and how to hold negligent staff or providers accountable.

Source: Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, "Title 2: Trial, Judgment and Appeal," accessed Oct. 30, 2015