Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Med-Mal Suit Elements: Proving Causation in a HCLC
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SUIT ELEMENTS: CAUSATION IN FACT - PROXIMATE CAUSE
In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove that (1) the defendant owed him a duty to act according to an applicable standard of care, (2) the defendant breached the applicable standard of care, (3) he suffered an injury, and (4) within a reasonably medical probability, the defendant’s breach proximately caused his injury. Mariner Health Care of Nashville, Inc. v. Robins, 321 S.W.3d 193, 205 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2010, no pet.). Proximate cause has two components: causation in fact and foreseeability. W. Invs. Inc. v. Urena, 162 S.W.3d 547, 551 (Tex. 2005). “The test for cause in fact is whether the act or omission was a substantial factor in causing the injury without which the harm would not have occurred.” Id. Evidence that shows only that the defendant’s negligence furnished a condition that made the injuries possible is insufficient to show proximate cause. Id. Proximate cause cannot be established by mere conjecture, guess, or speculation. Id. In a medical malpractice case, proximate cause must be established through expert testimony. Robins, 321 S.W.3d at 205.
SOURCE: Houston Court of Appeals - 01-10-00569-CV - 8/11/11