Family Files Malpractice Lawsuit Against Texas Hospital over Alleged Cover Up
Early in 2015 Cris Chapa brought her mother, Manuela Chapa, to the Kindred Hospital located in Sugar Land, Texas. Manuela, then 87, was suffering from pneumonia and her condition was worsening. So the Chapa family was not shocked when they were called in to the hospital on March 12, 2015 and told that Manuela had died from complications of the pneumonia. Though devastated by the loss, the family was comforted when they were told that Manuela had passed away peacefully. But nearly two years later, an anonymous letter arrived at Cris Chapa’s home informing her that the family was allegedly lied to by the Kindred staff.
According to Linda Patton, a former nurse practitioner at Kindred Hospital, Manuela Chapa died due to the alleged negligence of Dr. Yassir Sonbol. Patton explained in her letter to Chapa that Sonbol, an interventional cardiologist, decided to start the process of dialysis without consent from the patient or her family. And when he tried to insert the catheter in her neck, Manuela Chapa’s heart stopped. According to medical records, Chapa was revived once, but her heart soon stopped a second time and she died, not from complications of pneumonia, but from the botched operation that was never authorized.
Patton was not in the room for the operation, but the respiratory therapist who was told her a detailed account of the tragedy. When Patton learned that the hospital did not punish anyone and had allegedly lied to the Chapa family she took matters into her own hands. After reviewing the medical records, she emailed hospital management. When they did nothing she contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services, who investigated and determined that the patient’s rights were violated because the hospital never received consent for dialysis.
Despite the findings, no action was taken against the hospital and less than two months later Patton was fired. When she found out that the state never informed the family of the alleged malpractice or the investigation, she decided to write a letter to Cris Chapa informing her of what she knew. The Chapa family has filed a malpractice lawsuit against the Kindred Hospital seeking damages for the alleged negligence. Malpractice lawsuits have become less common in Texas after the tort reform that has capped payouts to $250,000, which prevents many law firms from taking on such cases.
“Taking the case was not a smart financial decision,” said the attorney representing the Chapa family. “We don’t expect to make money on this. We’re here because people more noble than myself set an example of courage that’s pretty hard to match.”