State Appellate Court Finds Expert Report Sufficient in Medical Negligence, Wrongful Death of a Child from Bacterial Infection

A Texas state appellate court has held that a plaintiff expert’s report was adequate in a case brought by the parents whose child died after receiving inadequate treatment for a respiratory infection. Luz Del Carmen Rodriguez and Victor Velazquez took their infant son to the office of a pediatrician, Dr. Satbir Chhina.

A nurse practitioner diagnosed the baby as having respiratory syncytial virus and prescribed Tylenol and nebulizer treatments. Dr. Chhina later signed off on the treatment plan that was presented to him by the nurse practitioner. However, the next day, the baby became unresponsive. He was transferred to a hospital, where he died of cardio-pulmonary arrest. An autopsy revealed that the child’s death resulted from sepsis originating from a bacterial infection.

Rodriguez and Velazquez sued Dr. Chhina and the nurse practitioner, alleging medical negligence. The plaintiffs offered the expert report of Dr. Armando Correa, a board-certified pediatrician who specialized in pediatric infectious disease.

Dr. Correa opined that the defendants had deviated from the standard of care by diagnosing the child’s condition as viral, not bacterial among other things, and that the child’s death resulted from the defendants’ substandard treatment. The defendants moved to dismiss, but the trial court denied their motion.

The defendants appealed from that order denying their motion wherein the appellate court found that the Texas Medical Liability Act requires plaintiffs to file a timely and sufficient medical report that summarizes the expert’s opinions regarding the applicable standard of care, the manner in which the care was rendered, the breach of the standard of care, and the causal connection between the breach and the alleged injuries.

In this case, the court said that Dr. Correa’s report was sufficient under the state act in that it stated what treatment the defendants should have provided – hospitalization and inpatient care – and what injury the child suffered as a result of their failure to do so – a worsening bacterial infection leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest and death.

Accordingly, the appellate court concluded, Dr. Correa’s report constituted an objective, good faith effort that complied with the act, and the plaintiffs’ claims could proceed back to the trial court to determine the case on its merits.

The attorneys representing the family were Elizabeth Martinez, Dan Pozza and Thomas Jones.

Chhina v. Rodriguez, 2018 WL 6793681 (Tex. App.)

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth trauma injury lawsuits, cerebral palsy injury lawsuits, obstetric injury lawsuits, misdiagnosis of infection lawsuits and wrongful death cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Brookfield, Deerfield, Fox River Grove, Hinsdale, Kenilworth, Naperville, Lincolnshire, Lisle, Lockport, Northbrook, Norwood Park, Palatine, Round Lake Beach, St. Charles, Western Springs, Chicago (Morgan Park, Riverdale, Hegewisch, South Deering, Calumet Heights, Jackson Park, South Shore, Grand Crossing, Bridgeport, West Town, Ukrainian Village, Albany Park, Andersonville), Bensenville, Berkeley, Park Forest and Forest Park, Ill.

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