Ebola Brings Patient Safety to the Forefront: The Real Story Behind Tort Reform

Recently, the news has been full of stories about failures to contain the Ebola virus at Texas Health Presbyterian’s emergency room.  The real story, though, is not simply the story of Thomas Eric Duncan, but rather a story of patient safety in general, and what happens when we allow hospitals and medical providers to avoid responsibility for their actions.

More than a decade ago, Texas enacted one of the toughest tort reform packages in the country.  It granted immunity to most individual health care workers, statutorily redefined what types of medical errors would qualify as negligence, and placed caps on non-economic damages for claims such as pain and suffering.  The justification for needing to institute such widespread changes to the judicial system, which had been in effect for more than one hundred fifty years, was the need to reduce allegedly “out of control” health expenditures that were being fueled by “defensive medicine.”

What have we learned in the ten years since Texas tort reform?  First, and most importantly for health care policy, we have learned that the story of Thomas Duncan is not an aberration:  Texas is ranked last in terms of quality of care according to the federal government.  Second, the cost of health care in Texas has gone up faster than the national average.  Third, the number of physicians per 100,000 patients in Texas has increased at a rate below the national mean.

The only thing Texas tort reform has accomplished is to limit an injured family’s ability to have their day in court, and to increase doctors’ and insurance companies’ profit margins.  One family learned this the hard way.  Read the tragic story of the DiLeo family and learn more about the realities of “Texas Justice.” See Is It Time to Reform Tort Reform?.

Video Profile

Decof, Decof & Barry

Schedule a Free Consultation

We work for clients on a contingency fee arrangement, which means you pay no legal fee or costs unless we obtain a verdict or settlement for you.

Firm News and Events
Decof, Decof & Barry Recognized among Best Law Firms by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®
Read More
Attorneys of Rhode Island Law Firm Decof, Decof & Barry Named Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
Read More
Michael P. Quinn, Jr. Wins Record Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case in Rhode Island
Read More
From our Blog
How to Legally Prevent Unexpected Medical Bills

May 22, 2018

Nationwide nearly one in three Americans with private insurance received a surprise medical bill between 2014 and 2016. A surprise medical bill is an unexpected bill from an out–of–network provider or from a provider not chosen by a patient. Surprise medical billing happens when a patient goes to a hospital, emergency room or doctor’s office…

Read More

What are the Time Limits to Make a Wrongful Death Case?

May 8, 2018

In Rhode Island, the legislature has enacted the Rhode Island Wrongful Death Statute, also referred to as the Death by Wrongful Act (Law § 10-7-1, et. Seq). There are different sections within the Wrongful Death Act in Rhode Island detailing the following aspects: the types of damages recoverable, by whom the damages are recoverable, who…

Read More

What is the Timeline for a Personal Injury Suit?

April 24, 2018

“It depends.” This is a typical response given by a lawyer in response to any question, but there are good reasons for it. For example, when determining how long you have to file a lawsuit, such as a personal injury case, facts matter. Little details, some known to a client and many unknown, can affect…

Read More

Contact form