It wasn’t long ago that HCA Houston Healthcare bought Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center, located at 10655 Steepletop Drive, Houston, Texas 77065. Now, the local arm of the giant hospital chain HCA announced that it’s closing the hospital and converting it into a free-standing emergency room.
From a practical standpoint, it will be interesting to see how HCA accomplishes this feat. The hospital, after all, has 181 beds, so that would make a whopping footprint for an emergency room.
On a side note, there is a significant legal difference between being injured by medical malpractice at a free-standing emergency room (ER), rather than one that’s part of the hospital. Bona fide emergency care in a hospital ER is covered by the tort reform willful and wanton negligence standard, which is a taller hurdler for plaintiffs. Free-standing ERs, on the other hand, are covered by the lower standard of general negligence.
What does this mean for my potential medical malpractice case?
Even though HCA is closing this hospital, it will have an ongoing obligation to make Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center medical records available to former patients. Patients can and will still be able to bring medical malpractice lawsuits up until the statute of limitations.
Generally speaking, the Texas statute of limitations for medical negligence cases is two years. For minors, it’s even longer. The Texas statute of repose for medical malpractice is 10 years, meaning that the legislature wanted to prevent the statute of limitations from being tolled, or extended, beyond that point for any reason whatsoever.
Another thing to keep in mind is that medical malpractice cases involving care at a hospital don’t necessarily mean the hospital itself is at fault. Under the corporate practice of medicine doctrine, Texas hospitals can’t employ physicians. I know that this bizarre doctrine surprises many people because of the misleading advertisements that hospitals buy.
I bring this up, though, so you can remember that physicians who worked at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center will get staff privileges at other hospitals. This means if you have a medical malpractice claim against them, you can track down these doctors at their offices in those new hospitals.
As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled many lawsuits involving healthcare provided at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center. Painter Law Firm will continue to investigate cases at this hospital even after it closes its doors and transitions into an ER.
We are here to help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of poor medical or hospital care, 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, Beaumont, 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.