As a Texas medical malpractice lawyer based in Houston, I handle medical negligence and wrongful death cases all over the state. Many clients from all over Texas call our law firm because their hometown lawyers are nervous about tackling prominent local hospitals or doctors.
Even in this era of pro-doctor, pro-hospital tort reform, I continue to focus my practice on medical malpractice cases. And, as my track record shows, I am not intimidated to take even the largest healthcare providers in Texas to court.
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center—Hillcrest
Having attended law school at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, I am familiar with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center—Hillcrest, located at 100 Hillcrest Medical Boulevard, Waco, TX 76712. When I was at Baylor, it was called Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center.
This hospital has more than 13,000 inpatient admissions, over 2,900 babies born, and 60,000 emergency room visits each year. In terms of surgeries, over 9000 surgeries are performed in this Hillcrest Hospital annually. In addition to offering adult, pediatric, and geriatric primary care, it offers specialty care in endocrinology, ear, nose and throat (ENT), facial plastic surgery, heart and vascular services, inpatient rehabilitation, neonatology, neurosurgery, oncology, orthopedics, pulmonary, critical care, urology, women services, and sports medicine.
Quality of care concerns
In my practice as a medical negligence lawyer, I routinely look into the Medicare and Medicaid survey results for hospitals. While the state of Texas is rather lax in regulatory oversight of hospitals, the U.S. government, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, operates a rather robust program of site visits and inspections on accredited hospitals.
Since December 20, 2011, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center—Hillcrest, operating under its former name of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, received four violations from Medicare and Medicaid.
The most recent violations were on October 7, 2015. The first violation dealt with disregarding patient rights. The surveyor found that the hospital did not offer a patient a bath, gown change, or linen change for two days. The surveyor also found an additional three patients who had not been provided basic hygiene.
The second violation in 2015 dealt with improper staffing and delivery of care. The surveyor concluded that the hospital nursing service did not have an adequate number of registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and other personnel to provide nursing care to all patients as needed.
In my experience, this is a serious issue that may compromise patient safety. I often hear from new clients how the experience difficulty getting nursing care when admitted to hospital. Even in urgent or emergency situations, clients have told me how pressing the nursing call button went unanswered, and family members had to rush all over the floor to find a nurse for help. The standard of care requires hospitals to provide adequate staffing to take care of all patients. When they do not do so, it needlessly endangers patient safety and is negligent. Sometimes, it is even worse than that, when administrators deliberately decide to cut costs, at the expense of patient safety.
The next violation issued by Medicare and Medicaid was on February 21, 2012. On a site visit, the surveyor found that there was inadequate registered nursing supervision of nursing care. In one particular incident, a patient was determined to be at a high risk for falls, but the nursing staff was not supervised to ensure that there is documentation of hourly rounds for fall prevention, in violation of the hospital’s own policy.
The final recent violation by Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center was on December 20, 2011, and involved patient rights and personal privacy. The surveyor toured the rehabilitation unit and noted that the hospital uses cameras inside patient rooms to monitor patient activity and safety. Anyone walking down the hallway could see the screens showing what was going on in individual patient rooms. This violated patient privacy rights.
We are here to help
If you or someone you care for has been seriously injured as a result of medical mistakes, negligence, or poor care at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center—Hillcrest, or any other hospital in Texas, call Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, at 281-580-8800, for a free consultation about your potential case.
Robert Painter is a medical negligence attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who focuses his law practice on representing patients and family members and medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits throughout the state of Texas. He is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to healthcare in medical negligence. He is a past editor-in-chief of The Houston Lawyer magazine and is a current member of the editorial board of the Texas Bar Journal.