When OB/GYN negligence affects a mother or baby in Texas, the mother has
the right to file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. A successful
malpractice lawsuit not only holds a negligent physician accountable,
it can also potentially prevent the same mistake from happening again.
In addition, a malpractice suit may allow those hurt the most by such
negligence to obtain compensation.
However, there is only a certain amount of time that a Texan has to file
suit, even in the fact of devastating pregnancy-related injuries. Last
month the Texas Supreme Court ruled against a brain-damaged teenager,
noting that the girl’s mother did not file suit in a timely enough
manner. A tort reform enacted in 2003 limited the amount of time a person
can file a malpractice suit to ten years. The girl was born in late 1996,
and while her mother filed a notice in 2004 that showed her intent to
sue, she did not actually file the lawsuit until 2011.
The teenager’s attorneys noted that since teens under 18 are not able
file suit, they need an adult to do so on their behalf. If, the argument
went, those adults did not act in the child’s best interests, dismissing
her suit would violate her right to access the court. Such a right is
guaranteed under the open-courts provision of the state constitution.
For their part, the judges on the Supreme Court disagreed and argued that
the provision applies only to those who are “diligent” when
it comes to bringing suit.
The original birth injury occurred after the girl was delivered via an
emergency C-section. According to the mother’s lawsuit, the procedure
caused insufficient oxygen that led to permanent brain damage. The suit
notes that one of the long-term consequences of such damage is that the
girl must depend on others for all of her activities of daily living.
Timely filing of a malpractice suit is essential in Texas. Even if a preventable
birth injury is not discovered until years after a child’s birth,
it is still important for families to begin the process sooner rather