St. David’s South Austin Medical Center medical malpractice attorney/lawyer


Since May 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cited this hospital with 10 violations for quality of care concerns

January 16, 2018

As a Houston, Texas based medical malpractice lawyer, I handle cases all over the State of Texas. I am currently investigating a surgical infection case involving care that was provided at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, which is located at 901 W. Ben White Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704.

Any time that Painter Law Firm accept representation in a case related to hospital care, we do thorough research into the hospital.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is a 214 bed facility that is owned and operated by St. David’s Healthcare Partnership, which is also based in Austin. St. David’s Healthcare describes itself as a unique partnership between HCA (a mega-company that owns and operates hospitals) and to local nonprofits, St. David’s Foundation and Georgetown Health Foundation.

The hospital offers a cancer center, emergency room, urgent care, a comprehensive stroke center, heart/vascular/cardiac care, diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT, xrays, etc.), orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, spinal surgery, occupational health, pediatrics, robotic surgery, sleep medicine, rehabilitation, bariatric/weight loss surgery, women/maternity/birthing/newborn services, and wound care.

Quality of care concerns

Medicare and Medicaid, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, routinely sends surveyors to conduct on-site inspections and records reviews to identify any quality of care concerns.

Since May 2011, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center has been cited with 10 violations by Medicare/Medicaid.

On June 21, 2017, the hospitals received a violation for not meeting standards for staff access to drug information. Texas law requires hospital pharmacists to evaluate medication orders and patient medication records to identify rational therapy contraindications and drug-disease interactions. A contraindication means that should never be given under any circumstances. A drug-disease interaction means that the drug could harm patients with a particular disease.

This requirement for pharmacists is designed to provide an additional layer of patient safety protection by determining if a drug that a physician ordered is appropriate to be given to a particular patient.

Most hospitals have computerized systems that aid in this important process. The Medicare/Medicaid surveyor found that, while St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, had such a system, the computer warning system was inadequate when it came to haloperidol (the generic name for the drug called Haldol). The medication package insert warned against giving haloperidol to patients who have Parkinson’s disease, but the hospital’s computer system did not alert the pharmacist to the drug-disease interaction. As a result, the pharmacy and nursing staff were unaware of the absolute contraindication of Parkinson’s disease with haloperidol and gave it to a patient who should not have received.

On April 24, 2017, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center received an additional Medicare/Medicaid violation, for the failure to have a chief executive officer in place to manage the hospital. The surveyor found that the hospital emergency room was not following the hospital’s own policies for vital sign reassessment of patients, as well as for managing patients under suicide precautions.

On May 2, 2016, the Medicare/Medicaid surveyor cited the hospital with one violation for violating patient rights to notification of a grievance decision. The surveyor found that the hospital had not sent written responses to patient or family member complaints regarding care that occurred at the hospital. As a former hospital administrator, I know that patient complaints or grievances are an important source of information for hospital leadership to use for improving the overall care provided at a hospital.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center received two violations from Medicare/Medicaid on January 27, 2016. The first, once again, dealt with the failure of the hospital to meet the requirement of providing written responses patient complaints or grievances, which violates the hospital’s own policy on patient rights. The second violation was for inadequate registered nurse supervision of nursing care provided to the hospital. The surveyor found that the nursing staff was not documenting the hygiene and linen care for 50% of the patient records that were reviewed. Considering the risk of hospital-acquired infections, proper hygienic measures are an important part of meeting the standard of care.

On July 17, 2012, the hospital was cited with one violation, dealing with not respecting patient rights for confidentiality of medical records. As a Texas medical malpractice attorney, I frequently speak with patients and family members who are concerned about their confidential health information being released, in violation of the HIPAA patient privacy protection law.

On April 2, 2012, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center received one violation from Medicare/Medicaid. The surveyor found that the hospital’s leadership failed to be responsible for all services furnished in the hospital, including contracted services. One of the hospital’s safety policies requires that patients being discharged from the hospital must be accompanied to a private vehicle or transportation by a nurse or volunteer, with any necessary assistance for transferring the patient to the vehicle. The surveyor found evidence that a patient was discharged home and unaccompanied by any hospital personnel at the time of discharge.

While the typical practice at most hospitals requires patients to be accompanied, often pushing a wheelchair, and discharge, I have represented a number of clients for whom that was not the case. I recall handling a case for a woman who was discharged from a major hospital in the Texas Medical Center while having an active stroke. I was surprised to learn that no one from the hospital accompanied or helped her, even though one side of her body was paralyzed. It was up to a family member to do the heavy lifting, literally. This is a dangerous, unnecessary, and unacceptable practice.

On May 23, 2011, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center was cited with a violation by Medicare/Medicaid for inadequate registered nurse supervision of nursing care. The basis for this violation was that there were inadequate nurses assigned and on duty to meet patient needs. The surveyor expressed concern that a patient was admitted with no skin problems, but in less than two weeks had a Stage 2 pressure ulcer.

We are here to help

Even though Painter Law Firm is based in Houston, we handle medical malpractice and wrongful death cases all over the Lone Star State. Many of our clients have told us that their local lawyers are uncomfortable in suing hometown hospitals, and are happy that we are able to help them. For a free consultation about your potential case, call us at 281-580-8800.


Robert Painter is an attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members and medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers. He has an Avvo rating of 10/10 and the prestigious AV rating, the highest peer review rating from Martindale Hubbell.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.


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