Expert Report Describing Chain of Events Ending in Newborn’s Brain Damage Sufficient to Support Complaint

The mother of identical twins filed an action against the obstetrician who delivered the babies, alleging negligent care resulted in one baby being born with brain damage. As required by state law, expert reports were filed with the complaint in support of the allegations. One expert report contained a detailed description of the chain of events following the plaintiff’s admission to the hospital, alleging that the obstetrician negligently failed to monitor the baby's heart rates although he knew the plaintiff was at risk for preeclampsia, failed to order ultrasounds at critical times, and failed to expedite the decision to perform an emergency Caesarean section, delaying the baby's delivery. The report did not specifically state that the multiple failures listed in the report caused the brain damage, but rather that “the deviations in acceptable standards of care more likely than not represent the proximate cause of the injuries.”


The obstetrician moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the expert report was deficient under the Texas Medical Liability Act because it failed to set forth the causal relationship between the alleged failures and the injury, harm, or damages claimed. The trial court ruled that because the report stated a chain of events that begin with the obstetrician’s negligence and ended in a personal injury it was sufficient to provide a fair summary of the causal relationship between the obstetrician’s failure to meet the appropriate standard of care and the injury claimed. The motion to dismiss was denied. The appellate court affirmed.


The appellate court also held that, as to a second named obstetrician, the expert report was insufficient to support the claims but remanded to the trial court for a determination of whether to grant a thirty-day extension to allow the plaintiff to attempt to cure the deficiencies.


 See: McKellar v. Cervantes, 2012 WL 1330270 (Tex.App.-Texarkana Apr 18, 2012) (not designated for publication).