The Texas Supreme Court dealt another blow to Texans who are victims of medical malpractice on January 14, 2011, in the case of Franka vs. Velasquez. This case should be a wake-up call to all patients who may see a state employed doctor, as this blow is likely fatal to any claim brought against any state employed physician. The court held that no patient in Texas can bring a medical malpractice case against a state employed physician if it involves the physician’s decision-making process, and not caused by a condition or use of tangible personal property. For example, if a patient is seen at Memorial Herman Hospital by a University of Texas physician, and that physician fails to diagnose breast cancer that causes the death of a mother of three, the physician will not be held accountable for her death under the Texas medical malpractice laws.
Our law firm advises all patients who see a doctor, determine exactly who that doctor’s employer is, and if he or she is a state employee, to change physicians immediately. State employed doctors have complete immunity from their discretionary decisions. Only if the injuries or death was caused by a condition or use of tangible personal property will there be any opportunity to make a medical malpractice recovery.