The Texas Supreme Court Ruled In Rodriguez-Escobar v. Goss That A Failure To Commit A Suicidal Patient Was Not Malpractice

A doctor examined a suicidal patient and determined that she did not meet the standard for involuntary hospitalization for psychiatric care and released her. Three days later she committed suicide by gunshot wound to the head. Her sons sued Dr. Rodriguez-Escobar alleging that he was negligent in failing to involuntarily commit their mother. A jury found against Dr. Rodriguez-Escobar and awarded $200,000 in damages. Dr. Rodriguez-Escobar appealed the jury verdict and the Thirteenth Court of Appeals affirmed.

At the Texas Supreme Court Dr. Rodriguez-Escobar did not challenge the jury’s finding that he was negligent but asserted that he had immunity under Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 571.019(b). The Texas Supreme Court ruled that there was no evidence that Dr. Rodriguez-Escobar’s failure to diagnose and commit Goss proximately caused her death and reversed the Thirteenth Court of Appeals and rendered a verdict in Defendant’s favor.

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