Doctor Mistake To Blame For Woman’s Hearing Loss
A Dallas woman, who was left with permanent hearing loss as the result of a doctor’s mistake, has virtually no legal recourse because of Texas law.
Sue Gonzales checked into the local hospital to undergo a routine treatment for diarrhea. She was given an antibiotic via IV that had serious side effects – one of which is nerve damage.
“The Ciproflex kills the nerve in the ear, so the one ear is completely gone, the other is 70 to 80 percent gone,” said Gonzales’ husband, Daniel.
According to him, “The doctor turned around and looked at the IV’s they were giving her and said, this is what’s causing it right here, so he says I’ll tell them to take it off.”
However, the IV was never removed and Gonzales suffered permanent damage to her ears.
“I feel sad. I cannot hear and people talk to me. My friends, they no come see me anymore,” she said.
The couple has tried to pursue legal action against the doctor to no avail. The first attorney they consulted refused to take their case, claiming that Texas medical malpractice law basically prevents him from taking malpractice cases.
Three years ago, Texas legislators voted in favor a Proposition 12, which limits damages awarded for pain and suffering at $250,000.
Texas attorney David R. Norton said that “at $250,000 it is not economically viable for the lawyer, or the client, to pursue it.” He added, “Many law firms have gotten out of the medical malpractice business totally.”
More than 100,000 people die in the United States every year because of hospital negligence, said Norton.
“Now that would be the same as if everyday of the year two commercial airline jets were colliding in mid-air, in the skies over America, and people were dying,” he said.
Despite the fact that hospital negligence is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., many states are putting caps of malpractice awards in an attempt to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that frivolous malpractice suits are rare. Moreover, laws such as Proposition 12 in Texas are leaving those with legitimate claims without any legal recourse.
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