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What is the difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice? What is standardly needed to file either of these?

Houston, TX |

I am a 30 yr old cystic Fibrosis patient. My concern over being sick was dismissed for 2 weeks and now im facing a very serious battle to get healthy. To justify their inaction, the dr accused me of being abusive to the care team, unable to act w respect towards the care team and even worse while in the hosp the 8 yrs ive been a pt here. My dr informd my dad and i of the hosp cases she referred too and I did have some problems but for each and every one i filed a complaint w the hosp, it was investigated and the hosp rep made it a point to follow up w me to let me know the investigations proved what id said. I have email documentation proving my concerns were dismissd. They are trying to get me well now, but this is an aggressive lung disease and them dismissn me for 2 weeks has hurt me

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Medcal malpractice and medical negligence are the same thing. In Texas, Chapter 74 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code governs these claims. There are very strict requirements when filing a medical malpractice claim and I do not recommend anyone attempting this without an attorney. If you don't do it perfectly, the doctor of medical provider will be able to recover their attorney's fees from you. Based on what you've provided, it doesn't appear you have a valid medical malpractice claim.


  2. Medical 'malpractice' vs. 'negligence' is just semantics. Attorneys in Texas that handle these claims just refer to them all as "Chapter 74 cases" these days. In 2003, the Texas legislature passed a new set of tort reform laws to regulate the claims. The section of the Texas statutes is Chapter 74. Technically, there are all "healthcare liability claims."

    Use avvo or google to find a medical malpractice lawyer in Houston to help you. It is utterly impossible (and potentially financially devastating) for a civilian to handle a case by themselves. There are not many attorneys left in Texas that handle this work.

    regarding the medicine involved in your case: I do not believe a 2-week delay in diagnosis can be proven to have made a difference in your ultimate treatment or prognosis. Even if the delay is the result of obvious medical error, a plaintiff must also prove that the error caused some new injury (like a significantly diminished prognosis).

    Your deadline to file suit in TX is 2 years from the date of the negligent act.


  3. Very good advice from Texas counsel. Republican-led tort reform has made it very difficult for injured people like yourself to get their day in court.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  4. I agree with the other lawyers who have responded. I would add only that you say the dismissal "has hurt" you, but you don't say how or how much. A plaintiff in a medical negligence case (simply the legally correct name for what most of us call a medical malpractice case) must prove three things: 1) conduct of the health care provider that fell below the applicable standard of care; 2) a causal link between the sub-standard care and an injury or illness; and 3) the nature and extent of the injury or illness. If any one of these elements is missing, there is no viable claim. Also, if elements 1 and 2 are present, but item 3 is uncertain or not very dramatic, the case may be legally viable, but it will not be economically feasible to pursue becasue the cost of pursuing it may equal or exceed the amount of the probable recovery. Should that occur, the plaintiff would recover no money and the plaintiff's lawyer would receive no fee for his or her hard work.

    Good luck.

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