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Why do Texas medical malpractice lawyers ask so much about a patient's past medical history?

Painter Law Firm's frequently asked question (FAQ) series

When doctors and nurses get involved with a patient’s care, one of the first things that they want to know is about the past medical history.

Sometimes patients are asked to fill out some preliminary paperwork, but a doctor or nurse should always interview each patient about his or her past medical history—this is called taking a history. In taking a history, physicians and other healthcare providers ask about past diagnoses, chronic illnesses, surgeries, and any medications that are being taken.

As a patient, it’s important to be as truthful and comprehensive as possible when answering medical history questions on preliminary forms or when speaking with the doctor or nurse. Sometimes information about past medical history may change treatment plans, including orders for medical interventions and medications. When the healthcare team is unaware of something, there can be serious complications.

In short, that’s the reason why experienced medical malpractice attorneys investigating potential healthcare claims ask a lot of questions about each client’s past medical history. From over 20 years of experience in handling medical malpractice lawsuits, I know one thing for sure—defense attorneys for doctors and hospitals take a deep dive into plaintiffs’ past medical history to try and develop an alternative theory on why there was a complication or bad result. The most common defense arguments are:

• The patient didn’t tell the doctor or nurse about some important information from the past medical history, which would have changed the medical decision-making.

• The alleged negligence wasn’t what caused the serious injury or death; instead, it was because of some condition in the patient’s medical history.

A top-rated Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney can help you evaluate your potential medical malpractice case by gaining a thorough understanding of your past medical history. This information is critical to making a judgment call on whether it’s likely that a medical expert would be supportive that any medical or nursing mistakes caused the patient a serious injury.

Robert Painter is an award-winning 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 all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.


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