Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re VB Harlingen Holdings

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

June 27, 2019

IN RE VB HARLINGEN HOLDINGS D/B/A VALLEY BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER

          On Petition for Writ of Mandamus.

          Before Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Benavides and Hinojosa Memorandum

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GINA M. BENAVIDES, JUSTICE. [1]

         In this original proceeding, relator VB Harlingen Holdings d/b/a Valley Baptist Medical Center contends that the trial court abused its discretion by denying relator's motion for leave to designate a responsible third party. See generally Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.004. Because we conclude that relator failed to comply with its obligations to timely disclose that Dr. Noemi Infante might be designated as a responsible third party under the civil practice and remedies code, we deny the petition for writ of mandamus. See id. § 33.004(d).

         I. Background

         This is an alleged medical malpractice claim brought by plaintiff Lynda Noble, individually and as next friend of Aaralynn Noble Hanline, a minor, against relator. On March 31, 2015, Lynda was admitted to the labor and delivery unit at the relator's hospital with gestational hypertension by her obstetrician, Dr. Infante. On April 2, 2015, Dr. Infante ordered Lynda transferred to the Mother-Baby unit for observation. On April 3, 2015, Lynda suffered a concealed placental abruption. Dr. Mitchell Hughston was on call for Dr. Infante and ordered Lynda transferred to the labor and delivery unit where he performed a cesarean section. Aaralynn suffered catastrophic brain damage.

         On March 22, 2017, Lynda filed a medical malpractice case against relator. She alleged, inter alia, that the nurses working at relator's hospital were negligent. Her petition included requests for disclosure which were due "within 50 days of the service of this request." See Tex. R. Civ. P. 194.3 (providing that a defendant served with requests for disclosure before its answer is due "need not respond until 50 days after service of the request"). Relator was served with the lawsuit on April 3, 2017. Relator filed its answer to the lawsuit on or about April 24, 2017 and filed its responses to Lynda's requests for disclosure on or about September 6, 2017. Relator filed its first supplemental responses to the requests for disclosure on or about September 21, 2018. Neither the relator's original responses to the requests for disclosure nor its first supplemental responses identified any person who might be designated as a responsible third party. See id. R. 194.2(l) (allowing requests for disclosure seeking "the name, address, and telephone number of any person who may be designated as a responsible third party").

         On November 20, 2018, relator filed a motion to designate Dr. Infante as a responsible third party. According to the scheduling order in place at this time, the deadline for the plaintiff and defendant to designate experts and provide reports had passed on August 21, 2018 and September 21, 2018, respectively, and the deadline for the joinder of parties had expired on October 22, 2018. Relator's motion for leave to designate Dr. Infante stated, in relevant part:

. . . This is a healthcare liability claim. Plaintiffs allege nurses working at Valley Baptist Medical Center were negligent in their care of Lynda Noble from March 31, 2015 through April 3, 2015.
On March 31, 2015, Ms. Noble was admitted to the Labor and Delivery Unit of Valley Baptist Medical Center by her OBGYN, Dr. Noemi Infante, for gestational hypertension. The Labor & Delivery Unit typically handles antepartum patients, including those at higher risk due to gestational hypertension. However, on April 2, 2015, Dr. Infante ordered that Ms. Noble be transferred to the Mother-Baby Unit for observation (the Mother-Baby Unit typically handles postpartum patients). Additionally, Dr. Infante ordered that while Ms. Noble was [in] the Mother-Baby Unit, a Non-Stress Test be performed daily to determine the fetal heart rate. These two orders were the sole decision of Dr. Infante. They were also allegedly negligent, according to Plaintiffs' experts.
At some point on April 3, 2015, while on the Mother-Baby Unit, Ms. Noble experienced a concealed placental abruption. Ms. Noble was subsequently ordered to be transferred to the Labor & Delivery Unit by Dr. Hughston, who was on call for Dr. Infante. After Ms. Noble was transferred to the Labor & Delivery Unit, an emergency cesarean section was performed by Dr. Hughston. The baby, Aaralynn Noble Hanline, was born with catastrophic brain injuries.
Plaintiffs' experts have opined Ms. Noble should have never been transferred to the Mother-Baby Unit. According to Plaintiff's experts, such decision was inappropriate and was an alleged proximate cause of Plaintiff's injuries.
Dr. Infante is a responsible third party because she caused or contributed to cause the alleged injuries for which Plaintiff seeks recovery of damages. Accordingly, Valley Baptist Medical Center seeks formal designation of Noemi Infante, M.D. as a responsible third party pursuant to Section 33.004 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code.

(Footnote omitted). Relator supported its motion to designate Dr. Infante with the expert report of Lindsay B. McDevitt, a registered nurse. McDevitt's report stated, in part, that:

Noble was not an appropriate candidate for transfer to the antepartum floor with severe preeclampsia and the nurses did not advocate for her in this matter. She was placed in a six patient to one nurse assignment which does not meet AWHONN[[2] safe staffing guidelines for a patient receiving Magnesium Sulfate. She did not receive appropriate care due to this and treatment was delayed.

McDevitt's report did not identify Dr. Infante by name or otherwise indicate negligence on the part of any treating physicians. On this same date, relator identified Dr. Infante for the first time as a potentially responsible third party in its second ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.