Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Texas hospital | liability | Thomas Duncan | Ebola

Attorney: Hospital May Not be Liable in Ebola Case

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:46 PM

The Texas hospital that treated the first U.S. Ebola patient after first turning him away could be protected against potential lawsuits thanks to tort reform in the Lone Star State, says attorney Heather Hansen, an expert on medical malpractice.

"The hospital has some real culpability, except for the fact that they're in Texas. In Texas, they've had tort reform in a large way," Hanson said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"The standard there, especially in the emergency room, is not negligence, but rather something even more hard to prove, which is willful and wantonness in this conduct. The hospital is a little bit protected by their tort reform.

"With that said, the fact that the CDC came out with guidelines on this in August and this happened in September, may be enough to establish willful and wantonness in this conduct."

Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia before flying to the U.S., was pronounced dead at 7:51 a.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

He was admitted Sept. 28 and had been kept in isolation — but his condition had continued to worsen. He apparently had hid his exposure to authorities when he flew to the U.S.

Despite the tort reform protections, lawsuits appear inevitable, according to Hansen.
"From what I've seen today, I do smell a lawsuit coming, which will be very difficult to prove. Even though the hospital turned him away on the Sept. 25 … arguably could that have been negligence?" she said.

"First of all, they have to prove the higher standard. Second of all, they're going to have to get a jury to feel so badly for this family that they're willing to give them money.

"I don't see that happening given the attitude towards him, towards this virus and towards his not telling people more consciously that he had been exposed."

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The Texas hospital that treated the first U.S. Ebola patient after first turning him away could be protected against potential lawsuits thanks to tort reform in the Lone Star State, says attorney Heather Hansen, an expert on medical malpractice.
Texas hospital, liability, Thomas Duncan, Ebola
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2014-46-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:46 PM
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