BEAUMONT – Back in December, the Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed a
ruling rejecting an expert report offered by Christus Health Southeast
Texas in a lawsuit brought by a patient who delivered her baby into a
toilet while admitted to St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Court records show Christus filed a petition for review with the
Texas Supreme Court, arguing that justices should review the lower
courts’ “erroneous” application of the qualifications provisions of
Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Code, which requires an expert report when
bringing a med-mal lawsuit.
The Supreme Court denied the petition last month. On May 28, the
Ninth Court issued a mandate in the case, commanding its order be
Judge Mitch Templeton, 172nd District Court, is the trial court presiding over the case.
In January 2018, Myranda Carnahan filed a petition in Jefferson
County District Court, seeking to obtain the testimony of the custodian
of medical records for St. Elizabeth.
According to the petition, on May 30, 2017, Carnahan went to the
emergency room complaining of labor pains. She was discharged and told
that she had a bladder infection.
She returned the following day and was admitted for observation.
“On the morning of June 1, 2017, Mrs. Carnahan went to the restroom
and her water broke and she delivered her child into the toilet,” the
petition states. “The child was hospitalized for approximately four
months and continues to undergo treatment for serious birth injuries.”
Court records show a nurse found Carnahan sitting on the toilet
with the baby hanging out of her vagina. Nurses retrieved the baby and
rushed the infant to the NICU.
As required by Texas law, Carnahan served the hospital with an
expert report. Dr. James Wheeler, a board-certified obstetrician and
gynecologist, authored the report.
He opined that if the nurses had satisfied their applicable
standards of care, Carnahan, an obese woman, would have been found to be
in preterm labor.
Court records show Christus filed a motion to dismiss challenging
the sufficiency of the expert report, claiming it failed to meet the
requirements of the Texas Medical Liability Act.
Judge Templeton denied the motion. Christus appealed and on Dec. 3 the Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
“Because the expert report … listed the expert’s qualifications and
linked the nurses’ breaches of the applicable standards of care to (the
baby’s) injuries, it allowed the trial court to conclude the report met
the Act’s requirements,” the opinion states.
“We overrule the hospital’s issues and uphold the trial court’s order denying the motion to dismiss.”
Carnahan is represented by the Lanier Law Firm in Houston.
Attorneys for the Cooper & Scully law firm represent Christus.
Appeals case No. 09-20-00108-CV
Trial case No. E-204242