Patient Protection

Patient rights in Texas have been decimated. Prop 12, which was passed in Texas in 2003, arbitrarily restricts the legal rights of all Texans. It particularly hurts infants, the elderly, and lower-income Texans because the majority of their damages are “non-economic.” This allows the few dangerous doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes to escape accountability for the needless injury or death they cause. Not only does this put patients at greater risk of medical negligence, it has not led to improvements in the cost, access, or quality of health care in our state. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable. Lax regulation and lack of legal accountability have led to substandard care and abuse in nursing homes across Texas.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of medical negligence? Please share your story with us.

Visit our Patient & Nursing Home Safety Tips page for resources and information on patient and nursing home safety.

What You Should Know

Texas Watch has created several informational documents that explain the background and effects of stripping patients’ rights:

Studies & Research

Does Tort Reform Affect Physician Supply? Evidence From Texas
David Hyman, Charles Silver, Bernard Black, Myungho Paik; June 14, 2012

A Failed Experiment: Health Care in Texas Has Worsened in Key Respects Since State Instituted Liability Caps in 2003
Public Citizen; October 2011

Society of Actuaries Study Finds Medical Errors Annually Cost at Least $19.5 Billion Nationwide
Society of Actuaries; August 2010

Is Better Patient Safety Associated with Less Malpractice Activity?: Evidence from California
Rand Corporation (Michael D. Greenberg, Amelia M. Haviland, J. Scott Ashwood, Regan Main); April 2010

Liability Limits in Texas Fail to Curb Medical Costs
Public Citizen (David Arkush, Peter Gosselar, Christine Hines and Taylor Lincoln); December 2009

The Impact of the 2003 Texas Medical Malpractice Damages Cap on Physician Supply and Insurer Payouts: Separating Facts from Rhetoric
Charles Silver (University of Texas), David Hyman (University of Illinois), Bernard Black (Northwestern University); Fall 2008

Neglecting the Neglected: The Impact of Noneconomic Damage Caps on Meritorious Nursing Home Lawsuits
Michael Rustad and Thomas F. Lambert, Jr. (Suffolk University School of Law); January 26, 2007

The Great Medical Malpractice Hoax: NPDB Data Continue to Show Medical Liability System Produces Rational Outcomes
Public Citizen (Seth Oldmixon); January 2007

Defensive Medicine and Disappearing Doctors?: Evidence Suggests That the Malpractice Crisis Has More Complex Effects Than Are Commonly Assumed
Cato Institute (Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra); Fall 2005

The Frivolous Case for Tort Law Change: Opponents of the Legal System Exaggerate Its Costs, Ignore Its Benefits
Economic Policy Institute (Lawrence Chimerine and Ross Eisenbrey); May 17, 2005

Stability, Not Crisis: Medical Malpractice Claim Outcomes in Texas, 1998-2002
Bernard S. Black (University of Texas), Charles Silver (University of Texas), David Hyman (University of Illinois), and William M. Sage (University of Texas); March 10, 2005

Medical Malpractice Briefing Book: Challenging the Misleading Claims of the Doctors’ Lobby
Public Citizen (Jackson Williams, Frank Clemente, and Neal Pattison); August 2004

Malpractice Reform Must Include Steps to Prevent Medical Injury
Annals of Internal Medicine (Stephen C. Schoenbaum, MD, MPH and Randall R. Bovberg, JD); January 2004

Latest from Patient Protection Read more »

Eye on Texas Blog

Abbott Defends the Indefensible

March 26, 2014—Attorney General Greg Abbott opted to formally intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas medical liability statute this week. The statute in question severely and arbitrarily restricts the ability of patients to access the civil legal system when they believe their medical care was negligent. Texas Watch Executive Director Alex Winslow... Read more »

Eye on Texas Blog

Special Interest PAC Can’t Handle the Truth

February 14, 2014—Access to the civil justice system is a fundamental right. It is embedded in our constitution because no one is above the law and everyone should be held to account for their actions. But, the folks over at the self-styled Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s PAC of CEOs and lobbyists just can’t seem to understand that.... Read more »

Latest Headlines

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect on the Rise in Texas

November 7, 2013—A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered cases of nursing home neglect on the rise across Texas. The investigation also discovered that facilities repeatedly cited for violations rarely see their contracts terminated with the state, despite getting millions in taxpayer dollars. One of those abused included 97-year-old Minnie Graham. Her granddaughter Shirley Ballard considered her a saint.... Read more »

Research & Reports from Patient Protection View more reports »

Research & Reports
Research & Reports

The Texas Watch Foundation, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization, conducts research and public education activities on consumer law, consumer protection and civil justice issues. Read More »

Court Watch
Court Watch

Court Watch, a program of the Foundation, documents the role and impact of the Texas civil court system on Texas families and Texas public policy. Read More »