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Ebola malpractice-death lawsuit settled out of court

Last month, we discussed the potential medical malpractice lawsuit involving a death of a Texas man infected with Ebola. The victim's family members ended up bringing a malpractice lawsuit against Texas Health Presbyterian hospital and it was recently settled. Although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, the resolution was probably a good compromise between the two parties.

Texas medical malpractice laws are hospital- and doctor-friendly, making it extremely difficult for patients to recover compensation even when they receive substandard care. Further, state laws cap the damages amount. The victim's family would have only been able to recover a maximum of $250,000 in damages if it prevailed in court.

Besides involving Ebola, the medical malpractice case was extremely unusual because it the hospital actually apologized for the patient's death. It is customary for a hospital or clinic to go into defensive mode after an accident, asserting it did nothing wrong instead of apologizing and working toward making things right with the victim and family.

It's tough to say for sure whether the hospital apologized for the Ebola death because of the national attention on the case, or because it truly felt it mishandled the patient's care and should treat the victim's family with dignity. Either way, it seems like it is probably the best resolution for family members grieving with the loss of their loved one. A trial could have involved years of additional stress with no certain outcome.

Source:, "Ebola victim's family settles suit against hospital," Nov. 12, 2014

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