Medicare issues violation to CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center


CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center has received four Medicare violations since September 2015

October 10, 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cited CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine, in the Texas Medical Center, with a violation on April 18, 2018.

CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center is located at 6720 Bertner, Houston, Texas 77030. This is the hospital’s fourth violation since September 2015.

A Medicare surveyor conducting an on-site review and inspection found that the hospital violated a patient’s right to informed consent.

What is informed consent?

As a former hospital administrator and Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I know that informed consent is an important part of the patient relationship with a hospital and physician.

Under Texas law, informed consent is a responsibility of the doctor that cannot be delegated to a nurse or other personnel. In reality, though, nurses at many hospitals go over informed consent forms at a lightning-fast rate, collecting patient signatures without fully explaining the proposed treatment or giving patients the chance to read the paperwork.

From a big picture perspective, informed consent is the process where a patient gives permission to physicians and other healthcare providers to provide treatment. Any time you go to a doctor’s office or hospital, you’ll probably be asked to sign some basic consent paperwork as soon as you walk in the door. When a surgery or other procedure is proposed, though, the doctor must obtain more specific informed consent before proceeding.

Although healthcare providers who deal with these forms every day may view informed consent as a check-the-box task, for patients there are other important considerations. Fundamentally, patients have a right to understand the proposed treatment and what it means for them. Texas law requires physicians to explain the indication for the proposed procedure, the potential risks and benefits of having the procedure, and the potential risks and benefits of doing nothing.

In my experience, these types of discussions rarely happen.

This morning, I worked on a medical malpractice case where a patient needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. The surgeon and anesthesiologist planned general anesthesia plus regional anesthetic called and interscalene block. They did not explain to the patient that interscalene blocks pose a significant risk of nerve injury, or that she could choose to have the surgery under general anesthesia only, without the extra regional anesthetic.

My client woke up from the successful shoulder surgery with a permanently-paralyzed diaphragm that makes it incredibly difficult to breathe. The medical expert that we hired to review the case shared her opinion that the patient’s severe breathing problems were caused by a botched interscalene block performed by the anesthesia provider. Sadly, if there had been a proper informed consent conversation, I bet my client would have never agreed to that extra, unnecessary regional anesthesia because of the added risks.

CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center’s violation

Let’s get back to the CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center. The Medicare surveyor looked at four sets of records of patients who had been admitted in voluntarily under an emergency detention warrant. On April 18, 2018, the surveyor found that the hospital did not allow one of the sample patients to participate in decision-making regarding his care.

According to the surveyor’s violation report, the hospital violated its own policy, dated March 2016, which says:  “Decisions About Care and Treatment…  The patient has a right to participate in decisions about his/her care and treatment and receive information necessary to enable him/her to make treatment decisions that reflect his/her wishes. Hospital departments will establish procedures or processes as follows: … Take reasonable steps to determine the patient’s wishes for a designated representative, as allowed by State law, to exercise the patient’s right to participate in developing and implementing the plan of care….”

We are here to help

In my law practice as a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled many cases in lawsuits involving care provided at CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor College of Medicine Texas Medical Center, and other hospitals in their system.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or even died because of poor medical, surgical, or hospital care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free, and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also, in 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter

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


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